Many Sierra Vista builders offer home automation packages that include an Amazon Dot or Show. Both feature a virtual assistant called “Alexa.” To activate your smart home features, you can simply tell Alexa to perform tasks such as turning on lights. Alexa can do so much more, though. Here are a few fun things you can try:
Channel Your Inner Trekkie
Amazon smart devices use the wake word “Alexa,” as in “Alexa, turn on the lights.”
If you have a family member named Alexa that can be a problem. Amazon will allow you to change the wake word — which is where the fun begins. Change the wake word to “Computer” to transport you to the starship Enterprise. Now you can say “Computer. Turn on the lights.” Just like Captain Kirk.
Drop In On the Kids
Add Amazon devices to other rooms in your house, then surprise your kids with your disembodied voice. How? Turn your devices into an intercom system. Enable the Alexa drop-in feature from the Devices tab in the Alexa app. Then go to the Communications tab to try it out. Once you do, you can listen and speak through any selected Alexa speaker.
Talk to the Animals
Is your four-legged friend feeling neglected while you are at work? Have Alexa “talk” to them. To do this, you will need to download a skill in the Alexa app. Meow! Is for cats. Woof! is for dogs. Alexa will start a conversation by making the appropriate noise. If your pet answers, Alexa will continue making those sounds. Of course, you can always use the drop-in feature so they can hear your voice.
Get Fashion Advice
Not only can Alexa help you get dressed in the morning, but it can also give you fashion advice. Say, “Alexa, what should I wear today?” Alexa will tell you what the weather is like and make an appropriate suggestion. For dedicated fashionistas, the Daily Fashion Advice skill will offer tips, tips and suggestions for always staying on-trend.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Remember those choose your own adventure books from your childhood? Open the Magic Door for a high-tech version your kids will love. This skill takes kids on an interactive adventure through a forest, sea, garden and castle. Along the way, they will collect hidden items, solve riddles, and help magical creatures. Enable Earplay for the more grown-up version featuring radio drama-type stories. Earplay is free to enable but some stories may incur a fee.
Shall We Play a Game?
Amazon claims that Alexa can play more than 5,000 games. Some of these come prepackaged on your device. For others, you will need to download the “skill” via the Alexa app. Challenge the kids to Simon Says, Jeopardy, Escape the Room and more.
Tell Me a Story
Alexa can read books to your kids. Amazon Storytime is for kids ages 5 to 12. Enabling this skill gives them access to more than 100 short stories featuring live cast recordings. Kids can choose from several categories or spin the magic story wheel for a surprise.
Play “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” Everywhere
Alexa can stream music from Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and more. That means your kids can ask Alexa to play their favorite Disney tunes. If you have more than one device, you can group them together via the Alexa app. Then tell Alexa to play “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” everywhere. Once the kids are in bed you can switch to some light jazz, we promise.