I broke up with Siri. I’m dating Alexa Now.
When I first brought Alexa home my wife said “No way! I can’t stand technology, it makes my head explode!” One week later Gail invited her into our bedroom. “Why did you wait so long to introduce us?”
Alexa is the “wake up name for the device that plays us music on demand, gives us weather reports, wakes Gail up with Alex Baldwin’s cheery voice, and has taken the market by storm. We now have an Amazon Echo in our main living space and Amazon Dot in our bedroom.
Amazon Echo is adding apps daily and she can do everything from play games with you to controlling your home devices. The voice control and smart phone industry is in its infancy and there are competing technologies out there and various platforms. Google and Apple as well as Microsoft either have or are developing systems; as they settle down and as us early adapters and paving the way for the rest of you so your lives will be a bit easier.
We started with a smart phone app called MYQ. For about a year now I have been able to open and shut my garage door, manufactured by Liftmaster, with my iPhone, I also get alerts when the door goes up or down. This comes in handy because I know when Gail comes home and is likely to answer her phone. Also, if I have a serviceman or a visitor that needs access to my house I can open the door for them. I have also added MYQ to the spec home we built on Olmeda, now I can open that home for potential buyers or Realtors from my phone. MYQ and Echo haven’t hooked up yet so I cannot tell Alexa to open or shut my door, but Liftmaster tells me that feature is on the way.
We added Amazon Echo about three months ago and use her daily for music, weather, shopping lists, and have her answer questions on demand. Two weeks after we got Alexa we added her little sister to the bedroom. The Amazon Dot is slightly smaller but has an audio output so we put her next you a Jambox speaker for fantastic music on demand upstairs.
We are encouraged to change her name from Alexa to whatever we wish, but so far Gail and I are going with her given name. (‘cause we can’t agree on what to call her)
Yesterday I replaced our Honeywell thermostat with a NEST thermostat. Nest and Alexa are friends (connected friends) and now we can change the bedroom temperature by asking Alexa to do so. NEST is a rather cool device that “learns” our preferences. We hook Nest up to our phone and Nest knows when we are away and will turn up the A/C temp a notch to save us money while we are away. She (not sure why I think she is a “she”) also keep the history of the usage, can control to a humidity and can be controlled from your phone, no matter where you are.
My next addition to my smart home will be a few smart plugs to control table lamps. I will let you know how that goes.