So my friend Conal was in the US last month and kindly brought me back an Amazon Echo Dot. I’ve used Siri on my iPhone with increasing success – combining it with my AirPods and Apple Watch makes voice-commands a breeze … but not as useful around the home (HomePod announcement not withstanding).
So today when Conal pinged me and reminded me he has been home for a month and I’ve not picked up my new toy (a lot of travel of late), I jumped at the chance.
Installing my new Echo Dot was surprisingly easy. Even though the iPhone app is not available in Ireland, I used my laptop’s browser to navigate to https://alexa.amazon.com and from there proceeded with the installation.
It. Just. Worked. 😀
And now the Apps
We use Spotify and TunedIn Radio for all our music needs. In the Kitchen/living area we have a Sonos Play:5 and in the master bedroom a Sonos Play:1 (thank you Etihad Guest frequent flyer points!).
Integrating with Spotify was easy. The Sonos integration was a little more difficult. There are instructions here, the catch however is that I needed the mobile device app … and you can’t get the iOS app in Ireland. There are ways around it, thanks to the Android device we use for Alana’s nightscout.info – a few Google searches later, and that was configured too.
So now we have the ability to play music in either room, all without touching a device.
Honestly, the hardest part was the 24+ character passwords I use on all my account logins lol
The Family Test
As I proudly plugged the Echo Dot into the kitchen, the rolling of eyes began. I proudly proceeded to show off checking the weather.
Alexa, what is the weather?
It worked, but was the family impressed? ….
Ask and ye shall find out!
With a touch of sarcasm, my wife Jenni immediately asked:
Alexa, will it snow tonight?
It was when Alexa responded almost immediately with a prediction of “not this evening” that the mood changed.
The icing on the cake was when Alana announced:
Alexa, play Katy Perry Roar in the Kitchen
… and Alexa did exactly that – from the Play:5 in the corner, Katy Perry’s Roar blasted into the room.
That’s when I knew they were hooked… an hour later, and I can still hear the family, and two of Alana and Zach’s friends, shouting out all sorts of clever questions and instructions to Alexa!
I’m thrilled – Alexa has exceeded my expectations, and it’s passed the all important Family Test 🙂
But, why would I stop here… I now want an Echo Dot in my office. And perhaps some smart bulbs to control lighting.
I also want an Echo Dot in the bedroom. Why the bedroom you ask? Because there is the ability to integrate Nightscout with Alexa, so that we can get notifications into our bedroom when her sugars go high, or low … but that’s for another blog post!