How To Set Up Amazon Alexa Smart Home

Author Wouter Wargerink 3.11.2017. | 13:59

Today is the day!  After spending hours carefully researching voice controlled speakers, you’ve decided to take the plunge and order an Amazon Echo. As you wait for Alexa to arrive, read through our tips to help you settle her into her new home.

 

Source: Wink

 

First, Find A Suitable Space For Alexa To Sit:

After unboxing your Amazon Echo device, you need to find a spot that Alexa can call home.  Amazon recommends placing your device in a central location that’s at least eight inches from any walls and windows.  The perfect location will depend on what you intend on asking Alexa to help with.  Do you want her to switch your bedroom light off at night?  Then place her on your nightstand.  Will you be using Alexa to order Uber cars or send for pizza?  If so, your living room might be the best spot.

Still unsure where to place Alexa?  Wired Magazine recommends placing her in the kitchen because that’s where her “native abilities shine brightest”.

Tip:  you can always extend Alexa into other rooms of your home at a later date with an Echo Dot or Amazon Voice Remote.

If you need help with setting up your Amazon Echo/Echo Dot, check out the company’s support page here.

 

Download Alexa’s App:

Next, you’ll need to download and set up the official Amazon Alexa app on your computer, smartphone or tablet. With the free app, you can manage Alexa’s reminders and alarms, set up your smart home devices, set a default music library, edit shopping lists and more.

 

Learn Her Language:

Once Alexa is settled and happy, it’s time to learn her language so you can converse with her.  She will only respond to pre-programmed words and phrases, so it’s important to memorise the ones you’ll need most often.   We recommend bookmarking CNET’s article: “Complete list of Alexa commands so far”.

Tip:  Sometimes, Alexa won’t understand your question the first time. Try rephrasing the command.  For example:  if “Alexa, play Muse” doesn’t work, try:  “Alexa, play the band Muse on Spotify” instead.

 

Teach Alexa Few New Skills:

While Alexa is pretty useful out of the box, you might find you need to teach her a few new skills in order to expand her capabilities.  “Skills” are like plugins for Alexa, they’re Amazon’s method of connecting your Echo or Echo Dot to third-party websites, apps and services.   So, with “skills”, Alexa can read the headlines from your newspaper of choice, check public transport in your area and read your favourite quotes from Keeping up with the Kardashians (yes, really).

We recommend visiting the Skills section of the Amazon Alexa app to get started.

 

Get Alexa To Help Around The House:

This is where Alexa can really shine:  she can control your lighting, adjust your heating and even switch your kettle on!

You’ll need to purchase compatible devices and set up the relevant “skills” in your Alexa App to get started.

Find a huge list of Alexa-compatible devices on their webpage.

 

Family Pep Talk:

Earlier this year, ITV’s This Morning had a segment on Smart Homes.  Presenters Phil and Holly struggled to get Alexa to boil the kettle. Why?  Watch the segment and you’ll notice the presenters all speak at once, so Alexa gets confused.

We recommend talking to your family and drilling this point home – especially if you have young children.  When you unbox Alexa, your family will be excited to play with her, but she’ll become overwhelmed if everybody in the room is vying for her attention at once!

 

Customise Your “Wake Word”.

By default, Alexa will wake up and respond to the word “Alexa”.  But you can change this on the Amazon Alexa app (click here to learn how).  At present, you can choose from the following wake words:

 

  • Alexa
  • Amazon
  • Echo
  • Computer (inspired by Star Trek, of course).

 

Unfortunately, Amazon does not allow you to choose your own wake word.

 

TIP:  Get The Most Out Of Alexa By Keeping Up To Date

Amazon updates Alexa all the time and she is constantly learning new things.  Keep up to date with the latest Alexa news to ensure you’re getting the most out of your Echo or Echo Dot.

 

Author Bio:

Krystian Szastok is a true smart home geek. He loves being up to date with latest home automation systems. In free time, he reviews gadgets and publishes his findings on https://www.smarthomegeeks.co.uk/

Author Wouter Wargerink 3.11.2017. | 13:59
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