Feature: Page (1) of 1 - 07/30/18

5 Things you should Try First With Your New Amazon Echo

By Neil Smith

Let me start by congratulating you on your first Amazon Echo. Now it is highly likely that this is your first Smart Speaker and you might me confused regarding its functionality and how you can make Alexa a part of your life. Amazon Echo is a powerful speaker and along with Alexa, the AI assistant, it can be an overall treat for all those who want a smart home. There a number of functions that can be performed using Echo, i.e. calling for a cab, Ordering Food or controlling your lights and all that, using just voice commands. But frankly a new Echo speaker can be a little overwhelming at first. But don't you worry as we are here bringing you the 5 best things that you should try with your brand new Echo. 

1. Get a Little Personal

Amazon Echo is said to be a smart speaker and a speaker is not smart until and unless it can recognize who you are. Alexa has one such voice recognition feature called the voice profiles. These voice profiles allows Alexa to recognize your voice and distinguish it from other. The benefit of such voice profiles comes into play when you have more than one users of a single Echo device. Alexa can recognize your voice and then produce personalized answers, For Example: "Alexa, Play my flash Briefing", Alexa will recognize the voice from the command and play the flash briefing of that particular person who has issued the command. You can set up your own calendar and to-do list and can also have personalized music playback.

To set up voice profile, open the Alexa App on your smartphone and click on Accounts which can be found under Settings and then tap on Your Voice. Tap on the begin button and select the nearest Alexa speaker (If more than one). Now you will be given a couple of phrases to speak out loud in the microphone of your Echo. After repeating a phrase you can jump on to the next one by clicking on Next button and if you want to try speaking it again in a better pronunciation then you can click on Try again. After all the phrases are recorded, Alexa will take about 15-20 minutes to recognize your voice. To check if the process has been successful, you can say, "Alexa, Who am I?" and if Alexa is able to tell you your name then the process has been a success. 

2. Play some Music

The Echo comes packed with a built in powerful Bluetooth Speaker that allows a 360 degree omnidirectional audio which can be used to play all kinds of music. As is comes with Alexa so it is able to play music using music streaming services the default one being Prime Music. Some other music services like Spotify, iHeartRadio, Tuneln, Pandora and SiriusXm are also supported. If you want a song to be payed from a particular music streaming service then add the name of the service at the end of the command. For Example: "Alexa, Play some Jazz from Spotify". 

If you use a particular service more than the default player, you can change the default settings. To do so, just open the Alexa App and click on Settings >Music and Media> Choose Default Music Service. After changing the default, there is no need of specifying the said service at the end of the command. If you want to play your favorite tunes from your phone you can do that too as Echo is basically a Bluetooth Speaker, so just say "Alexa, Pair" and then go to the Bluetooth settings of your smartphone and select the Echo to pair. After getting paired just say, "Alexa, Connect". After that you can play and audio through your Echo. 

3. Set Up Your Flash Briefing

Flash Briefing can be understood as you own personal information update. You just have to say "Alexa, What's in the news" or "Alexa, Play my Flash Briefing" and the Alexa will tell you all the new information that you are interested in, from the sources that you have specified.

To change the sources of your flash briefing, and the order of their play, just go to the Alexa App on your android or iOS device. Reach the Settings and then click on Flash Briefing. There you can toggle sources off or on, find new sources and remove sources. 

4. Make your home a smart one

The major feature of Amazon Echo is its ability to connect to and control other smart devices. It is compatible with several different brands like Philips Hue Lights and WeMo, Samsung's Smart Things gear and Insteon Hub. You can also connect it with a number of smart thermostats some of them include Nest, Sensi, Lyric and ecobee3 devices. Routines can also be set up to realize the dream of a smart home. Routine is a way of controlling more than one smart home device using just a single command. For example: If you say, "Alexa, Good Night", Alexa will read you your flash briefing, lock the doors and turn off the lights. 

To set up routines open the Alexa App, Go to Setting then Account and under the Account section, select Routines. Now tap on the plus sign on the upper right corner. Tap on "When this happens" option and add the command which you want the actions to be performed. Now finally add the actions that are required to be performed.

5. Ask Alexa What She can Do For You

Alexa is a cloud based Artificial Intelligent system and Amazon always strives to make it better for its users. So amazon keeps adding new features and luckily Alexa is not shy when it comes to telling you what new things she has learnt. So just say, "Alexa, what new features do you have?" and she'll reply by telling you the latest additions in its arsenal than can empower your smart home experience. It is most important to get the most out of the smart and elegant voice assistant. 

Apart from the above mentioned, there are a number of functions that Alexa can perform like playing games with you, shop for you, be your kitchen assistant, etc and if you want the complete experience, then check out the other features as well and don't forget to share this blog with your family and friends, who have just bought a new Amazon Echo.

Neil Smith is the outreach senior executive of Alexa Echo Help. He has held just about every position possible in the technology world, from tech support to marketing head. He is a tech enthusiast who has a great interest in smart home technologies. He and his team have been applying their vast Amazon Alexa Echo Support experiences to create world learning solutions in tech world.

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