Alexa on your Amazon Echo device can do a lot more than you think. You can use it to protect your home, get traffic information, set reminders and more. Here’s how to get the most out of Amazon’s virtual assistant.
1. Manage Alexa from your desktop or mobile
In case you don’t already know, you can control the various functions of Alexa directly from your desktop, iPhone or Android smartphone. This allows you to tweak various settings options for your Echo without requiring physical access to your device. You can manage everything from reminders and alarms to connected smart home devices.
On your desktop, you can use the Amazon Alexa website to do this, although it’s worth noting that the web implementation isn’t as robust as it used to be. You will have a better experience with the official Alexa mobile app on iPhone and Android.
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2. Prevent Alexa from hearing the wake word
Alexa keeps her ears open all the time so she can hear the wake word and respond to your questions. However, this could be problematic if you have someone or something called Alexa in your area. You will accidentally trigger Alexa (the virtual assistant) every now and then.
Luckily, you can make Alexa stop listening to the wake word. To do this, press the microphone button on your Echo device. Alexa no longer listens to the wake word.
To hear the wake word again, just press the same microphone button on your Echo device.
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3. Change Alexa’s wake word
“Alexa” isn’t the only name you can use to launch this virtual assistant. Amazon gives you a variety of names and terms to choose from to call your virtual assistant. These words include “Amazon,” “Echo,” and more.
You can change your device’s wake word through the Alexa website on desktop. You can later revert to the original wake word if you wish.
4. Make Alexa speak faster or slower
If you find Alexa’s speech too fast or slow, you can ask her to adjust her speaking rate. Just say “Alexa, speak slower” or “Alexa, speak faster” and she will obey your command.
This allows you to listen carefully to specific words or quickly go through everything if you want to get your information quickly.
5. Get quick answers with short mode
Sometimes Alexa’s answers to your questions are too detailed. She might keep saying little things that you’ll eventually find annoying. Fortunately there is a way out.
Switch to short mode, an Alexa feature that allows the virtual assistant to keep her responses shorter. When this mode is enabled, Alexa doesn’t speak as many words as usual. You can enable the mode by accessing the Alexa website, going to Settings > Alexa Voice Responses and enabling “Brief Mode”.
On the same page, you can have Alexa whisper her responses by turning on the Whispered Responses option.
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6. Get your commuter traffic data
Alexa can inform you what kind of traffic you will meet on the way to your office. As long as you have your To and From addresses in Alexa, you’re just one query away from getting the traffic details of your commute.
If you haven’t already done so, you can configure your ‘to’ and ‘from’ addresses in the Settings > Traffic menu on the Alexa website.
7. Use Alexa as a reminder app
It is easy to forget your important tasks in this busy life. Setting a reminder for each of your tasks in a mobile reminder app is also cumbersome.
Luckily, you can use your Alexa assistant as a reminder tool. Just ask Alexa when and what you want to be reminded about, and she will send you a notification at the specified time.
For example, you can ask Alexa to remind you to drink water at 2pm and she’ll send you a notification when the time comes.
8. Perform multiple tasks at the same time with routines
Completing a single task with Alexa is easy, but what if you want your virtual assistant to perform a series of tasks with a single command? Fortunately, there is a way to do this.
Enter Alexa Routines, a feature that lets you configure multiple tasks. Then you can ask Alexa to run that routine and she’ll perform any tasks added to your routine. A good use of this feature is in your sleep ritual. You can get Alexa to close your doors, turn off the lights, and even play soothing music to help you sleep.
You can configure Alexa Routines from the More > Routines menu in the Alexa mobile app.
9. Get home updates when you’re away
Alexa offers a security feature called Guard that lets you keep an eye on your home when you’re not there. This feature listens for certain sounds, such as glass breaking and smoke alarms going off.
When Alexa detects these sounds, you’ll receive a notification and a short audio clip of the sound, letting you know something is wrong in your home so you can take the necessary action.
You can enable Alexa’s Guard feature from the More > Settings > Guard menu in the Alexa mobile app. You can purchase the Guard Plus feature for a fee if you want emergency authorities to be notified when these sounds are played in your home.
10. Use your Echo device as a Bluetooth speaker
Last but not least, you can use your Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo as a Bluetooth speaker. This way you can connect any of your Bluetooth-enabled devices to your Echo and play your favorite music.
You can use this feature if your favorite music app isn’t supported by Alexa or if you prefer to play music from your phone or your desktop. You can pair your phone or desktop with your Amazon Echo simply by asking “Alexa, pair.”
And those are some of the Alexa features that you can use to make your Amazon Echo device even more useful. We hope you find this list useful.
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