We have a new tool to play with at the office lately: The Amazon Echo. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this wonderful device, allow me to break it down for you.
What is it?
The Amazon Echo is an all-in-one personal assistant that operates via WiFi and Bluetooth. It connects to your mobile devices and computers to give you an immersive futuristic experience. When I started working at our firm, I was introduced to this amazing device. I sat down to get oriented and my boss walks into the room and says “Alexa! Tell me a Donald Trump joke!” Without missing a beat, I hear a mechanical voice impersonating Conan O’Brien:
“What was that?” I ask imploringly.
“That’s Alexa,” says Mike. “She plays music, keeps your schedule, integrates into various systems… and she tells jokes.”
The device itself is called the Echo, and the software on it connects to Amazon using Alexa. From there it gets weird, or awesome, or both.
What does it do?
Using a microphone array consisting of seven mics coupled with a powerful, yet small, sub-woofer and tweeter, the echo listens to your command and instantly responds. In addition to telling jokes, the ECHO can do so much more. Using the Amazon Alexa cloud-based computing platform, it can connect to various application services such as Pandora and iHeartRadio to play your favorite jams, integrate with home and office systems for complete control of things like your home theater, security systems, and thermostats, it keeps your calendar, your to-do list, your shopping list, acts as your personal assistant, weatherman, and best friend, but most importantly… new functionality is added all the time. This device does almost everything!
Soon this device will be able to order your pizza for you, as it already does some shopping for you via Amazon.
What do we plan to do with it?
We will be trying out new services and offerings as they become supported by Amazon. As time goes on, we will also be automating our systems with the use of the Echo’s mobile app. For certain we are automating our thermostats, work schedules, online maintenance tasks, and eventually our pizza party orders. If you have any suggestions as to what you’d like us to try with the Echo and Alexa, drop us a line in the comments!