How much has changed from how we listen to music and audio. The picture above features a cassette tape which was released by Philips in 1963. The first cassette player designed for use in car dashes was introduced in 1968. These days we have smart speakers that are increasingly becoming more popular. Sonos, Google, Amazon, and recently Apple all have products to fill this product niche. Amazon's Echo series of speakers, using the AI voice assistant Alexa is currently leading the race in market share. Amazon has recently allowed access to its AI assistant for development in other manufacturers products. Alexa is able to communicate with smart home appliances, play music, and learn new Skills. Skills are like apps for Alexa enabled devices. Alexa skills really advance and expand how these devices enrich our lives. Here are four skills you may find useful when setting up your new smart speaker.
Ask My Buddy
Sometimes we can't always reach our phones or press a button to get help. Folks that live alone or have loved ones that live alone will find this next skill very useful. Ask My Buddy is a free skill that uses Amazon Alexa to connect a user to their Personal Alert Network using only their voice. It won’t call 911, but if you need assistance, you can tell Ask My Buddy to alert your selected group of contacts, family members, or caretakers via SMS, email, or phone call. This skill taps into the value of hands-free devices. It is ideal for hands-free devices, but maybe not so much for owners of the Tap Echo. Ask My Buddy is not a replacement for 911, but rather a supplementary tool for those trying to maintain their independence, offering the security of knowing help is just a shout away.
Call an Uber or Lyft
Get a ride in minutes with these ride share skills. Add the Lyft or Uber skill to your device. Next, simply say “Alexa ask Uber for a ride” and an UberX will arrive in minutes. If you would like another car type, you can say something like "Alexa, ask Uber to order an Uber Black." You can also change your default pickup location, ask for a ride status, or cancel your ride. Switch between your Amazon Household profiles to request a ride from different Uber accounts. Need a lift? "Alexa, ask Lyft to call a line to work for 2 people." With the Lyft skill for Alexa, you are able to request a ride and get picked up in minutes from the home address set in your Lyft account. You can also set a work address and make your weekday commute a breeze.
Can't find your phone to set up these skills? If you're like me, you misplace stuff all the time. If you are always misplacing your phone this next skill will be of great value to you. Pair your phone with TrackR app and it will let you know the last place you left your device. It is able to ring your device even if it is only silent.
IFTTT: Roll your own
If you can’t find what you’re looking for with the official gallery of Alexa Skills, IFTTT should be your next stop. IFTTT is an app that allows you to create applets that can connect web applications and services in order perform a particular task. A gallery of applets already exists from various users creating their own applets to work with Alexa and other web services. If what you are looking for doesn't exist there, IFTTT makes it easy to roll your own applet.
Alexa skills really advance and expand how these devices enrich our lives. These skills expand the abilities of Amazon's Alexa and hopefully offer some value to you. Nexxtep offers a full range of solutions to advance our client's businesses. If you are interested in learning how we can enrich your business, drop us a line.