The Dot, Echo and Tap are the device or hardware (more specifically streaming audio players) from Amazon.  Therefore, “Alexa” is the voice control software that turns the Amazon devices into a sort of virtual personal assistant or smart home hub.

Interestingly, Alexa was named after the ancient library in Alexandria, Egypt, the largest library in antiquity. However, Amazon’s Alexa has noticeable limitations because She/It only recognizes specific phrases and commands; deviate from those and she won’t know what you are talking about.

The streaming audio player can act as a smart home hub: easily dimming lights and playing a variety of streaming music from:

  • Amazon Music
  • Prime Music
  • Spotify Premium*
  • Pandora
  • TuneIn
  • iHeartRadio
  • Audible

Here are some more of our favorite Alexa Tips & Tricks:

  1. You can train her to understand you better and more quickly. Just spend some time over on the “Voice Training” section of the Amazon App.
  2. Set your location: In the Amazon app, open the sidebar and go to Settings > [Your name]’s Echo > Echo device location.
  3. Did you know Alexa has thousands of “Skills”? You can browse for them on the Alexa App on your mobile phone … they include a range of items including: reading the Huffington Post headlines for the day, reading you the 7 minute workout (Alexa becomes a personal trainer), quoting cat facts or even shutting your garage door.
  4. Set an alarm (Alec Baldwin can be the first voice you hear when you wake up in the morning).
  5. Reading you the weather or checking traffic comes naturally to the Amazon devices.
  6. Facts about movies, songs, albums, band members and movie stars are also programmed into Alexa.
  7. Did you know you can ask her how to spell a word?
  8. Of course, Alexa comes equipped to order from Amazon for you – just be careful not to let your kids get ahold of that command. There are stories in the media about Alexa being a very pricey habit for a seven year old.
  9. The Amazon devices will pair with many smart home platforms, including SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, Lutron, Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, Nest and many more; enabling you to turn off and on lights and control your thermostat (hand’s free of course) from your smart home hub.
  10. At INC Tech we can help you set up your smart home hub so that you can control “scenes” (currently Alexa is limited to Control4, Insteon, Lutron Caséta Wireless, Philips Hue, SmartThings and Wink): “Alexa, turn on Movie Time” or, “Alexa, turn on Bedtime.”
  11. An Alexa “Easter Egg” is a cute or snarky response programmed in Alexa that will put a smile on your face. Some of our favorite Tech Geek “Eggs” include:
    1. “Alexa, beam me up.”
    2. “Alexa, set phasers to kill.”
    3. “Alexa, my name is Inigo Montoya.”
    4. “Alexa, I want the truth.”
    5. “Alexa, party on, Wayne.”
    6. “Alexa, show me the money.”
    7. “Alexa, are you SkyNet?”
    8. “Alexa, open the pod bay doors.”
    9. “Alexa, what is your quest?”
    10. “Alexa, this is a dead parrot.”
    11. “These aren’t the Droids you’re looking for”
    12. “Where can I hide a body”

Sometimes Alexa gets ‘glitchy’ (everything in technology seems to at some point).  In order to fix the glitch you may need to reset the device. First try the simple reset of unplugging and plugging it back in (you know clearing her mind). When that doesn’t work move to a “hard reset” or “factory reset”. Find the tiny reset button hidden on the bottom of the device, with a unfolded paperclip insert and hold the reset button for 5 seconds. The light ring will turn blue, then orange, then start up in set up mode, which will indicate that you’ve successfully reset your Echo. You will then have to log back in and enter your Amazon password and details.

Alexa’s integration with brands and partner technology is constantly expanding. You can find a full list of her technology partners here – or just give us a call at INC Technologies and we will work with you to get the most out of your Amazon Echo, Dot, or Tap.