The new voice assistant by Amazon Echo is called Alexa. It was originally utilized in the smart speaker called Amazon Echo and later the Echo Dot, the Echo Studio, and Amazon Tap speakers, all formulated by Amazon Lab126. Voice assistants are extremely helpful for everyone; you can use them for various tasks on a regular basis, even look for slots for real money online!
These smart devices are capable of carrying out various tasks, including:
Making to-do lists;
Providing real-time data such as news, updates of weather, traffic;
Browsing the net for information.
One of the most prominent features of Amazon Alexa is that it can be used to control smart appliances by employing itself as an efficient home automation system.
A History of Alexa
The launch of voice assistant Alexa was announced along with the launch of Amazon Echo in November 2014. Amazon was inspired by the computerized conversational system used in TV series and films by Starship Enterprise. The films include Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Amazon used the word Alexa because it is an ode to the library of Alexandria, which is utilized by the Amazon Alexa internet. The name Alexa ends with a hard consonant X which incorporates higher precision in recognition.
Amazon has also announced a fund known as the Alexa fund, which helps invest in voice control technologies. Amazon also announced the Alexa price to boost an advance in voice control technology. The first Alexa conference was arranged in January 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition, Amazon opened a pop-up shop that was based on the theme of Alexa in Toronto. This pop-up cafe showcases the various home automation products released by Amazon and how to use them.
What Is the Home Automation System?
Alexa is mostly popular as a home automation system. It can interact with devices and control them accordingly. The home automation feature was first introduced on April 18, 2015. Alexa helps regulate all automation devices from just one location—that is, the smart device does.
Alexa can be used on a plethora of devices launched by the companies like SANS, Belkin, Ecobee, Geeni, and many others. All of these devices can be remotely controlled through voice commands.
The user just needs to follow some quick steps to set up Amazon Alexa:
Purchase an Alexa-compatible device.
Download the app called Echo for Alexa. Users can choose to download this app on their phones, computers or tablets.
The user needs to sync the Echo Dot or Echo with the app installed on the personal device.
Apart from carrying out at-home commands, Alexa can also control smart devices remotely. This implies that one can use Alexa to control their devices even when they are not home.
How Can Alexa Control Music?
Alexa has no built-in music feature or a music library of its own. However, users can connect Alexa to a music provider service or a streaming service of their choice. These streaming services include some of the most famous services like Prime Music, Amazon Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Audible, Pandora, and Spotify Premium. Before Alexa can stream music or songs directly, it should be linked to the user’s Amazon account. The user also needs to grant permission to Alexa to access the account on the music streaming platform.
What Is the Alexa Skills Kit?
The Alexa Skill Set helps the users in creating new content, which is called skills. These skills are like apps that Alexa can access. Therefore, the Alexa Skills Set is technically a Software Development Framework. Using this system, users can help remotely control devices paired with Alexa or carry out various commands. It enables users to use their voice in controlling devices and performing actions such as checking the news, playing a game, or listening to music.
A user can access a skill by asking Alexa to invoke the particular skill. A user can invoke a skill by saying the wake-up word “Alexa” to an Alexa-linked device, for example, “ Alexa, search for free pokies.” The device then records the following speech and streams it to the Alexa service. The Alexa service runs a speech recognition system to determine what the user wants and then invokes the skill to fulfill the request made by the user. The Alexa service utilizes speech recognition software and natural language processing to carry out the process as mentioned above. In addition, a request-response mechanism is used over the HTTPS interface to help Alexa communicate with the content of the skill.
How Can a User Control Messages and Calls from Alexa?
Alexa can be utilized in multiple ways to send and receive messages. Alexa can help deliver a message to the recipient’s Alexa application. It can also help deliver the messages to all compatible echo devices associated and compatible with the user’s Amazon account. Alexa can also help the user to send typed texts. However, this feature can only be accessed from the Alexa app. If one uses the connected Echo device to send a message – the message is transmitted as a voice message.
Alexa uses a voice control mechanism; it cannot send messages with videos and photos. Contacts stored in Alexa can be linked from all household devices with more than one member registered to the associated account. Therefore the Alexa app on the Echo device can access and support any member of the household. One of the shortcomings of this system is that these messages can be accessed and heard by anyone who enters the household. Unfortunately, this technology does not incorporate a password protection system yet. However, users can temporarily use the Do Not Disturb feature to obstruct alerts for unnecessary texts and calls.
The incorporation of natural language processing by Amazon Alexa has made the user’s life much easier. Alexa can send messages, play music, access the weather updates, and keep the lights, locks, security systems, and thermostats working. It can save the user a lot of time. Users can control the intelligent products or devices remotely via their phones without being physically present in the same place as the Alexa device.