I’ve been using the Amazon Echo for a while now as I was lucky to get my hands on it during the release day. It’s great when I wake up in the morning and get my flash news briefing including the sports news and local weather.
Whilst making my breakfast and a cup of tea, I can easily ask Alexa to play music without the need to get my phone out. This is very convenient as I’m usually busy with my hands making breakfast, stirring tea or preparing lunch.
There are interesting skills that are beginning to appear as developers have started to dip their toes into the capabilities of the device.
SmartThings – Echo Skill
If you’ve invested in a home automation solution and wish to be able to take control of your devices via voice. Then the relevant skill should be a must add to Amazon Echo. In my case my home automation solution is Samsungs Smart Things. By connecting this skill, it allows me to take control of my devices and turn them on via voice. For example “Alexa, turn on my hall light”.
Radio Player – Echo Skill
Sometimes you can’t decide which artist, song or playlist you wish to put on. Having the Radio Player skill installed allows you to access radio stations. A simple command such as “Alexa, play radio 1” streams music to your device.
BabyCenter – Echo Skill
If you’re having a baby and you wish to keep track of your pregnancy week by week. My pregnancy from BabyCentre is a great addition. After setting your due date, you can then get regular updates by saying “Alexa, ask My Pregnancy for my weekly update”. You’ll receive important information about the size and weight of the baby and any structural changes.
Blackjack – Echo Skill
A skill for fun, pushing the ideas of creativity within the Amazon Echo. The Blackjack game is a fantastic way to entertain yourself when your hands are full. A great party piece to show off to your friends and family. Alexa will deal you cards and allow you to stick or hit, when you are done it will play out it’s hand. When you decide to stop playing it will let you know your overall score.
Jamie Oliver – Echo Skill
Although not the finished skill just yet and in it’s basic form a recipe chooser, the Jamie Oliver skill has enough potential to excite me. As a fan of Jamie Oliver and a passionate cooker, the potential to have recipe steps and quantities read out to me as I cook would be fantastic. Turning pages or scrolling on apps is awkward when trying to do certain parts of cooking. If you follow recipes to the book like me it can cause you to make many checks. For now however it remains a way to send recipes to your connected email address.
As things progress and developers become more creative, we are likely to see more in-depth and useful skills added. If you’ve got any favorite skills, drop us a comment and we’ll check them out