After getting it, I quickly adapted and enhanced my routines by using it to set timers, schedule events, asking for the time (actually, it is quite useful!), setting my alarms for the morning and, finally, playing some soothing sounds to help me doze off to sleep... And yes, these are super simple things, and yes, even those suck quite often (I spent 5 minutes arguing with Alexa to set a 15minute timer instead of the 50one, couldn't do it), but even at this super-primitive stage it definitely adds a lot of value, especially at its price.
I don't know if it will be any of the current players that will win out in the field, but there will definitely be winners.
However, once I already had an Echo I started thinking of things that could be done with it beyond the trivial stuff.
For example I have been working on a tiny ESP8266 device that will sit behind or above the toaster oven in my moms kitchen. If the temperature is high for more than an hour or two, Alexa will say "I'm reminding you, the toaster oven is still on".
Total cost will end up being about $10-15, and requires no contact with or alteration of the oven, so it is a progressive enhancement rather than potentially making things worse or interfering with the basic function of the oven.
I could put a "smart switch" on the power supply and cut it automatically, but when things like toaster ovens are plugged in those switches are a potential hazard themselves.
It seems like automatic shutoff is something toaster ovens should all have, but clearly not all of them do. The same is true for ovens, stove tops, coffee pots, clothes irons, heating pads, tea kettles, electric woks, curling irons, etc.
Also seems like a better idea to follow the example of smoke alarms and use external monitoring rather than trust every single appliance to work properly.
I've considered putting something like an AMG8833 in a smoke alarm housing on the ceiling, so it can detect any appliance left on too long, but I'm not sure if it would work well in practice. Things like that are getting cheaper though, eventually it'll be possible.
> I need to provide some identifying info to get 2FA removed from my web host (new phone) and one of them was last transaction amount.
"Alexa, what is $19.53 in New Zealand Dollars" so I could track it down in my bank statements
> My PS4 is on, Plex is open and I want to watch something specific but I'm too lazy to scroll
"Alexa, tell Plex to play Violet Evergarden"
> I wake up in the middle of the night but I don't want to turn on my phone because the light would trick my brain into thinking it's day probably
"Alexa, what time is it?"
> I'm not sure if it's going to rain tomorrow and I don't run a weather widget on my phone. I'm also doing other stuff while getting ready
"Alexa, what's the forecast for today?"
> My particular favourite at the moment that I set up using IFTTT. I want to trigger the stats page on my site to update by pulling the latest info for a bunch of APIs. To do that, I need to hit a certain hidden endpoint or I could say
"Alexa, trigger site refresh"
Anyway, it feels silly but the more I use it, the more I really enjoy it despite being skeptical. I think IFTTT gives you a lot of possible power, especially with webhooks if you've got anything in particular.
I think I'd have to write my own skills in order for Alexa to eg; read the response from a POST request but that could be cool. Anyway, the Echo Dots are really good for what they cost
It's pretty nice to say, "Alexa, turn on away mode" as I leave the house. Instead of going through the whole place, turning off all the lights, locking the back door and adjusting down the thermostat.
I have friends who have it, seems neat but still very "eh" for me.
Do you plan to live alone forever? 'cause roommates, spouses, and especially children tend to make turning the lights off as you leave the room quite futile.
Can't control roomies but that's about it.
No? I don't think I've ever met someone who owned a Clapper. In my mind, it's the epitome of gimmicky late-night TV/Skymall products.
Personally I've gone with SmartThings (Samsung) to control the home tech and use Amazon as the voice interface. This allows me to be reasonably agnostic of vendor and interfacing standards (ZWave/Zigbee/Wifi), allows me to use a scripting language to control some aspects of automation (using Webcore app) and still use Amazon to issue voice commands to the same devices.
Kids love it, I like it, but not got full wife acceptance yet, she gets frustrated turns stuff off at the wall and then all the automation needs debugging!
The bigger thing is that I just don't see huge benefits to smart lights, and potentially a lot of maintenance headache - I just don't really mind walking to the switch.
An automated blind opener that is set to slowly open automatically based on what I've set my phone alarm to that day, though, that I would pay a lot and put up with a lot of crap for.
Lots of people have switched away from smart things for this reason.
In the morning, I say "Alex, Good Morning."
My lights turn on, my coffee maker turns on, Alexa tells me the weather, how long the commute currently is and a little morning news. She then switches to play Spotify while I take my shower.
When I leave, I tell "Alex, Good Bye"
She turns off every light in my house, verifies the door I let my dogs out of is locked, and triggers my thermostat to go away.
Gonna set up my family's Alexas now. But it's a 1 time investment. :D
Remote is usually better, but I like having tv control ability on Alexa for when I can't find the remote or don't want to get up and get it.
Different lifestyles I guess. Most of my family loves having Alexa but my cousin and I both agreed it seems pointless for us.
I have an Alexa which was gifted to me. My son loves it. The rest of us enjoyed it the first day and never looked at it after.
Digital assistants have value, but Alexa on its own caters to a frivolous use-case that trades away a lot of privacy for little value.
PCs started out the same way but gradually expanding into solving more and more solutions. Oh, and I have never used my echo to do anything with prime.
> I have an Alexa which was gifted to me. My son loves it.
Marketers chase after young people because they tend to lead changes. You might want to look at why your son loves it.
Do you not use your Echo for prime music?
About Alexa and Prime, I would also point you to this from the horses mouth: https://www.amazon.com/primeinsider/tips/alexa-tips.html .
I'm curious by the way: what do you use the echo for which your phone doesn't do better?
The echo serves as a good home music speaker which I can control through spotify on my phone/computer/voice (through echo).
Outside of that, setting timers, asking the weather, random questions (my girlfriend uses cooking/math conversions a lot, but alexa isn't as good as google for random facts from my experience). My girlfriend loves to use it while getting ready and cooking since her hands are busy for hours during those times.
Alexa is easier than pulling out your phone, finding the app you need, waiting for it to load, possibly having to authenticate, then making the change you need, in lots of cases.
Thermostat, lights, podcasts, quick questions, timers and more.
The Echo isn't at its full potential, but the basics can be useful and you can see where it's going. Once they handle a broader variety of things, they will be a no-brainer for every household that isn't nervous about privacy issues. (i.e., almost everyone)
I use it to set cooking timers without stopping what I'm doing or needing a hand free. My kids use it to play music. e.g., my three year old can play a particular album without knowing how to spell it and without having to nag me to do it. They also love asking it questions like "how many teeth does a horse have?" or "how much does an elephant weigh?"
Humans can do anything a computer does because we made them. We just cannot do everything a computer does as fast.
> alexa is doing things that practically every other smart device can do as well
So did the first iphone but there is a lot more to it.
My only sadness is that because of the nature of the tech involved, it seems like only a race between the big dawgs. Us small guys may be able to ride the wave with apps, similar to early mobile apps, but the proliferation of walled gardens and proprietary all-the-things will be unfortunate.
AR will mix voice but to become the walled garden of a person’s entire world, literally everything they see, is going to be so insanely powerful.
Adjusted EPS: $9.57 per share vs. $8.33 per share expected by a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate
Revenue: $27.77 billion vs. $27.2 billion expected by a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate
Anita Balakrishnan | @MsABalakrishnan
Published 3:25 PM ET Thu, 26 Oct 2017 Updated 7:29 PM ET Thu, 26 Oct 2017 - CNBC
Google is bleeding money in the same way I bleed when I take my glucose reading, by pricking the tip of my finger. Drip. Drip.
It really feels like a product that hasn't been dogfooded at all...
This thing is too convinient and I know some us data broker will have a tough time getting the data to do anything with it
> if it does go on to scratch floors then just return it, I guess
It would be great if it were that simple, but scratching the floors would cost $1,500+ of damage and force me to leave my house for at least two days.
Either the robot has to be smart enough to avoid dragging objects around with it, or I can't use it. That's why I asked if maybe yours was a newer model that was smart about it.
But I have to say, "Of course, Google has the money to spend."
"Bleeding cash" is hardly what Google/Alphabet is doing. At worse, this for Google/Alphabet is the $10 bill that discovered in a jacket they haven't put on since last spring. Or to state this properly, Alphabet's liquidity/viability is not in danger by this effort :)
Smart Speaker Adoption in Canada Surges to 8%, Google Home ...
That might be worth it to you, but it seems like chasing extremely marginal returns to me.