Top 5 Amazon Alexa Skills for Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot
Digital assistants are all the rage right now and with good reason. These devices have the potential to make our lives much easier, allowing us to ask for information and perform certain tasks with simple voice commands. While digital assistants are useful tools, many of us are still learning the ropes and not getting the most out of this powerful technology. So how can you get more out of your digital assistant?
Well if you have the Amazon Echo, Echo Plus or Echo Dot, you’ll use little applications called skills. These skills will allow you to perform certain useful tasks. I’ll talk about a few of my favourite skills in this post.
But first, it’s important to know how to add skills your Echo. To add a skill, simply open the Alexa app on your phone, tap the menu button on the left and select “Skills” from the list of menu items. From here, you’ll be able to search for skills and enable them. Now, on to some of my favourites:
1. Global News
Getting a snapshot of what’s happening in the news has been a part of my routine for many years. I usually look to Global News for that snapshot as I’m making my morning coffee or eating breakfast so I was pretty excited to set up the Global News skill on my Echo. Now, I can simply ask the Echo that’s set up in my kitchen to give me a flash briefing as I’m getting ready for the day.
If you prefer a different news outlet, fear not, most of the major ones have made Alexa skills available. A quick search of the Alexa skills should help you find what you’re looking for.
Uber is already pretty great but paired with Alexa, it’s even more convenient! Using the Uber skill on your Echo device, you can quickly order an Uber without even having to pick up your phone! All you need to do is give Alexa the necessary command and wait for your ride.
For those of us who find it challenging to fit the gym into a busy day, the 7-Minute Workout app has been a godsend and with Alexa, it’s even better. Installing the 7-Minute Workout skill on Alexa allows you to ask for a workout anytime you have a few spare minutes: seven to be exact. Once you request the workout, Alexa will walk you through it. If you’re unsure about any of the exercises, you can refer to the 7-Minute Workout app on your phone for images.
As a music lover, services like Spotify literally changed my life, making it easy to access almost any music at any time. Of course, I still had to do some work to search the music out by typing what I was looking for into the app. Now thanks to my Echo, I can just blurt out what I want to listen to and Alexa obliges. I can search out music by artist, song, decade, or even mood.
I love the Phillips Hue lighting solutions and the fact that any of the Hue lights in my home (read: all the lights in my home) are app controlled. With three careless teenagers in the house, these lights have saved me a bundle! Now with Alexa support, a voice command is enough to turn on, off, or dim any light in my house. I can even trigger pre-set lighting profiles for certain moods and activities and confine them to specific rooms. Pretty cool!
Alexa has a number of other smart home device skills. For example, it plays nice with Nest and Wemo as well. Run a quick search of Alexa skill to see if your smart home devices have skills.
Do you have any favourite Alexa Skills?