The Cool Things You Might Not Know That You Can Do with Alexa

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have your own virtual personal assistant, you can find out by investing in devices, like smart speakers, with Amazon Alexa built-in. With this nifty technology you have limitless information and features at your fingertips and need only to say the word. While this product is known for its entertainment value such as its ability to blast music whenever you ask, it can be a useful productivity resource as well. Alexa can assist with research, make a grocery list and even help manage your smart home to keep you from overspending on utilities.

Not everyone is aware of the many capabilities, also called skills, Alexa possesses and could be missing out on some of its coolest and most helpful features. To ensure you make the most of your Alexa experience, read on to find out some of its most impressive tricks.

Control your smart home

These days smart homes are becoming more and more common because they can save energy, lower utility bills, and generally make life a lot more convenient. With more and more devices with Alexa built-in or integrating with the app, it basically allows you to have full access of your smart home devices and make modifications with a few simple commands. Have you ever been lying in bed at night uncomfortably cold and wished you didn’t have to walk all the way downstairs to turn the heat up? Now you don’t have to. Just Alexa to turn the heat up it can help you adjust the thermostat from another room. There are smart thermostats that are certified Works with Alexa and some, like ecobee, have Alexa built-in.

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If you really want to take full advantage of the smart home feature, you can set your device to recognize the different rooms of your home that utilize smart home technology. From there, you can adjust things such as lighting no matter where you are located in the house. You can give Alexa simple commands such as, “Alexa, turn off the lights in the entryway” or “Hey Alexa, turn on the lights in the basement.” Not only is it convenient, but it can also help you save on your electricity bill by easily turning off lights that are not in use.

Keep away potential intruders

This genius trick may remind you of the classic film Home Alone. If you’re going to be away from home for a long period of time and want to deter possible burglars, try out  "Away Mode". This is a little-known feature in which Alexa will play a continuous fake conversation on a loop. In the case that a possible intruder does attempt to make an entrance into your home, they will be less likely to go through with the robbery if they think you are home. This trick can help you put your mind at ease while you leave home for the day.

Clean your home without lifting a finger

If you’ve ever wished you could clean your home without having to get off the couch, this feature will quickly become one of your favorites. Clean without lifting a finger with the help of Alexa and several robotic vacuums from iRobot, Shark, eufy, and Neato. Each of these brands offer models that are certified Works with Alexa. These robotic vacuums can be paired with your Alexa device and will operate when given vocal commands. Simply ask Alexa to activate your vacuum and it will do the dirty work, so you don’t have to!

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Order a meal

Don’t feel like cooking? Alexa can order takeout or delivery for you with a few short voice commands! For example, you can simply ask for Domino’s Pizza (or Pizza Hut) and tell Alexa your favorite order. It will even give you occasional updates to let you know when your food is ready or when it’s on the way to your home.

If you have a late-night craving but aren’t sure if your favorite restaurants are still open, Alexa can help you out! All you have to do is ask “Alexa, is KFC still open?” and you’ll have your answer within seconds. Don’t know the best route to get there? Alexa can provide you with directions for the most efficient route with issues such as traffic and construction being taken into consideration.

Prepare the perfect dish

If you want to dine at home but don’t know what to cook, Alexa can help spark some inspiration. There are several recipe skills available like Allrecipes and Food Network. Just ask Alexa to open the skill and it will provide you a variety of delicious and quick recipes depending on what you’re in the mood for. It can even walk you step by step through the preparation and cooking process to ensure your dish turns out just right. Coq au Vin anyone?

If you’re planning to have an adult beverage with your meal, Alexa can assist with that as well. This device can provide you with thousands of popular alcoholic drink recipes and tell you what sort of ingredients mix well together for the perfect beverage combination. Simply ask for "the bartender".

Turn on your television without picking up the remote

Did the remote go missing yet again? No worries, Alexa can do the job for you. If you have a smart TV it can be paired with your Alexa device for the highest level of convenience. All you have to do is ask Alexa to turn on your favorite show or movie and it will start playing on its own. If you and your partner just can’t agree on the perfect movie for date night, your device can help you select a film based on your favorite genre and interests.

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Enjoy the maximum music experience

Alexa’s most popular feature is likely its music on command function. This feature is so vast and limitless that you can listen to virtually whatever you’re in the mood for within seconds. You can ask for your playlist to be set on shuffle or request a specific song or album. You can even adjust the volume or skip to the next song if you so desire. If you’re hosting a party and want to adjust the music on your smart speaker, you don’t have to leave your guests to go searching through your playlists for the perfect tune. You or your guests can request whatever music they wish with simple verbal commands.