Developed by Amazon Lab126, Alexa is an intelligent personal helper which rose to fame with Amazon Echo. Features of Alexa includes music playback, voice interaction, creating a to-do list, podcast streaming, alarm setting, playback of audio books, and providing real-time updates on weather and traffic. Apart from functioning as a personal assistant, Alexa is also capable of controlling smart devices by converting itself into a hub for home automation. All devices which are enabled with Alexa offer users the choice to wake up devices by using a special wake-word or through a push of the button.
Functions of Alexa
As mentioned above, weather reports made available through Alexa is via reports provided by AccuWeather and news features published by TuneIn. All information gathered by TuneIn is a summarised news version picked from radio channels, news reports and channels like ESPN and NPR. Devices which support Alexa also intelligently streams music of the listener’s choice based on previous selections. Music is also streamed from the user’s account of Spotify and Pandora. Also, Alexa can successfully play off Google Play Music and Apple Music Store. All questions regarding Google calendar are answered by Alexa.
Alexa is capable of interacting with home devices manufactured by Philips Hue, Yanomi, SmartThings, Belkin Wemo, LIFX, Wink, ecobee, Insteon and Nest thermostats.
Alexa is proficient in ordering food from popular fast food chains. In Singapore, Alexa can order food from associated restaurants using the ‘What should I eat’ voice command.
Accurate weather reports are published using information from Singapore’s National Environmental Agency.
- Amazon Echo Dot
- Amazon Echo
- Amazon Tap
- Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet (2016 version)
- Invoxia Triby
- Amazon Fire TV (2nd generation)
- LG InstaView smart refrigerator
- TCL Xess tablet
- C by GE LED Lamp
- Lenovo Smart Assistant
- Onkyo VC-FLX1 smart speaker
- LG SmartThinQ Hub
- Huawei Mate 9
- Clarity touchscreen smart speaker
- Nucleus Anywhere Intercom
- Jam Voice portable speaker
- Fabriq smart speaker
- Lynx robot
- Orion Labs Onyx smart walkie-talkie (Q1 2017)
- Omate Yumi Robot
- OV by ONvocal headphones
- Pebble Core
- iMCO CoWatch
- NuBryte All-in-One Smart Home System
- Martian mVoice Smartwatches
- Omate Rise Smartwatch
- EchoSim (website)
- Roger (app)
- Ford F-150
Alex skills kit
Alexa skills kit offers Amazon developers a chance to publish and construct skills for Alexa. Skills developed using this kit are mostly third party apps engineered around voice commands which expand the capabilities of all devices which are enabled by Alexa. Examples of these skills include setting an alarm, giving right answers for simple questions, queuing and playing music, booking a cab, and so on. With each new skill added, the number of features available to the user is increased. Skill kit from Alexa is a collection of tools, documentation, API’s which are self-service based and simple codes. The simplicity of the codes makes enhancement of Alexa’s skill set easy. A new inclusion is the cloud-based control of thermostat and lighting devices. There are also tutorials available for those consumers who wish to build their own skill set.
Launch of Amazon Lex
Last year, Amazon made an announcement hinting at the development of natural language processing and speech recognition technology named Alexa Lex. The release of Alexa Lex will mark the rise of personalised bot creation by users to interact in a manner similar to conversation. Apart from including the features of Alexa, Amazon Lex will also launch social media apps like Facebook messenger, Twilio and Slack.
Alexa has the most impressive voice-activated format. Those who are on the lookout for a conversational functionality will be pleased with this.
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