Amazon’s Alexa skills – A virtual Personal Assistant
Alexa is one of the best example of the integration of AI and Machine Learning in our lives. If you already have got an Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker like Echo, Echo Dot, Tap or Echo Show then you must know how you can make tasks done with Alexa in a simple way. There are currently more than 15,000 skills, you just need to enable the ones you need and command the Alexa-enabled device what to do for you.
You can search skills from the Alexa app based on various categories like Music, Food, Travel, Smart Home, Lifestyle, Shopping and lots more. You can use Alexa skills in Echo, Echo Dot, Tap, Echo Show, Fire TV, and Fire Tablet. For more advanced tasks like video calling is available only in Echo Show and Echo Spot. Also, the developers at Amazon are constantly working to expand and integrate the Alexa to other third-party devices.
Here, we have summed up best Alexa’s skills you can enable. Top 20 Alexa skills explained:
The basics of Alexa
To set up your Alexa speaker(Amazon Echo, Dot or Echo Show), you need to download the Alexa app and sign up for the account. Once done, you can open the app and go to settings and set up a new device to establish a connection to your Echo and Wi-Fi network.
Now you are ready to enable skills and then commana your speaker for tasks to be done. For some skills you might need to link your account to Alexa. For example: to command Alexa to play music on Spotify, you need to create account on Spotify and link to Alexa.
Some of the basic Skills and commands:
- Playing your music: “Alexa, play the latest track”
- Choose the radio: “Alexa, play Radio 2”
- Change volume: “Alexa, set the volume to 5,”
- Set an alarm: “Alexa, set an alarm for 6am tomorrow”
- Send Text Message: “Alexa, “send a message to [contact name]”
- Ask a question: “Alexa, what’s the currency of Dubai?”
- Create a list: “Alexa, add eggs to the shopping list”
- Ask for help: “Alexa, help.”
The very first thing that comes in our mind with such device is how we can use them to enjoy or relax in our free what can be more better than listening to music. You can command Alexa to play music using Amazon’s music library and variety of third-party services like Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Pandora, and SiriusXM). You can even create your favourite playlist based on your moods, eras and special occasions.
Like if you are in party mood just ask Alexa to play your party tracks.
- “Alexa, play some music.”
- “Alexa, play on Spotify.”
- “Alexa, play [radio station] on TuneIn.”
- “Alexa, what’s playing?”
There are various services through which you can control your TV through Alexa. Like, if you have Amazon Fire TV set or Alexa enabled fire TV, then you can link the device with Alexa app. To set up your device, go to menu-select Music, Video, Books categories to manage your devices. From there, you can add a device and command your Echo speaker as “Alexa, watch fire TV”. You can also control your TV by linking your remote to Alexa through “Logitech Harmony remote”. You can command Alexa to turn on the TV, pause or play. Using Alexa skill, you can also control your satellite TV box.
- “Alexa, [pause, play, resume, stop, fast-forward, rewind] on Fire TV.”
- “Alexa, search for [movie to TV show title] on Fire TV” or “Alexa, find [movie or TV show title] on Fire TV.”
- “Alexa, open [app name] on Fire TV” or “Alexa, launch [app name] on Fire TV.”
- “Alexa, [mute/unmute] Fire TV.”
- “Alexa, open TV guide on Fire TV.”
With the help of “Audible” a service owned by Amazon to play audiobooks, you can link your Amazon’s Echo device to play audiobooks using Audible. After linking up, you can command Alexa as:
- Play an audiobook: “Alexa, play [title] on Audible,” “Alexa, read [title]” or “Alexa, play the book, [title].”
- “Alexa, resume my book.”
- “Alexa, next chapter” or “Alexa, previous chapter.”
- “Alexa, read me my Kindle book.”
Control your Smart home Lights
Sometimes, it make us feel hard to just wake up and switch on or off the lights or control other devices. You will be glad to know that if you are having smart home products like Philips Hue light bulbs then, you can enable Philips hue skill to control lights on of your entire room. Like you can command “Alexa, turn on Living Room lights” and even set the scenes according to your mood like “Relaxed” or “Concentrate”. There are also several skills which can help control the smart home products like WeMo smart plug. Alexa Skills are also available for Lutron, Samsung SmartThings/Connect, Axial Control and others.
- “Alexa, turn on the lights” or “Alexa, turn off the living room lights.”
- “Alexa, raise the temperature 1 degree.”
- “Alexa, make the living room lights red” or ” Alexa, turn the lights to soft white.”
- “Alexa, dim the lights to 50 percent.”
Control your thermostat
You can pair your smart thermostats with the Alexa and control it by voice commanding. If you have a smart thermostat such as Nest, then you can use Nest thermostat skill to give commands to Alexa like “Alexa, set the living room to 24 degrees”, or “Alexa, what’s the temperature in the bedroom” and “Alexa, what’s the basement set to?”. You can also use Hive smart thermostat and pair it with Hive skill on Alexa app.
Get assistance while shopping
There are various skills Alexa have that can make shopping online an exciting experience. With skills you can command Alexa to create shopping list for you, add items to cart and even get the exclusive deals based on the preferences.
You can ask “Alexa, what’s the deal of the day?”, “Alexa, ask ebags where is my order?”, “Alexa, talk to Best Buy” or you can also shop with Amazon’s voice shopping page. If you want to know the phrases you need to command to get exact tasks done then visit “Amazon’s Voice Shopping” page.
All you need is Alexa-enabled device like Echo or Dot and it will help you shopping by just commanding with voice. You can ask, “Alexa, what are your deals?”, then it will respond with the exclusive deals available for Prime members.
Wake up with your favorite jams
We find morning Alarms as the most annoying things and rather like to sleep again by snoozing it. But what if you wake up with your favorite tracks or radio stations or listing the latest news.
Whatsoever, you can tell Alexa the time and what to do things. The services you can use it for this is Amazon’s music library and other third-party services like Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, SiriusXM and iHeartRadio.
Here are some commands you can give to Alexa:
- Set a music alarm: “Alexa, wake me up to [artist, song, genre, playlist or album] at 8 a.m.,”
- Set a music alarm:”Alexa, set an alarm to Band of Horses”
- Set a music alarm: “Alexa, wake me up to Kiss FM on TuneIn.”
- ClockRadio: “Alexa, ask ClockRadio to play Adele at 8 am”
Listen to the Latest TED Talks
The TED Talks skills contains vast library of inspiring topics, ideas and funny conversations and latest TED talks. You can play the latest TED Talk, or randomly search for a topic or talks or by speaker name on your Alexa-enabled device. You will always find some refreshing contents.
- “Alexa, ask TED Talks to play the latest talk.”
- “Alexa, ask TED Talks for something funny”
- “Alexa, ask TED Talks to find talks about technology”
Food & Drink
There are variety of skills that can offer recommendations on cooking, ordering pizza, wine to pair with your meals and many more. For example:
- Amazon Restaurants: “Alexa, order from Amazon Restaurants”
- AllRecipes:”Alexa, ask AllRecipes for a grilled salmon recipe.”
- AllRecipes:”Alexa, ask AllRecipes for a recipe with chicken, bacon and broccoli”.
- MySomm: “Alexa, ask Wine Gal to recommend a wine for a pepperoni pizza.”
- Domino’s:”Alexa open Dominos and place an order.”
- The Bartender: “Alexa, ask the bartender to pick a drink.”
Get help From Loved ones
Sometimes we get stuck at any place or we are not able to reach our phones or press a button to get assistance. “Ask My Buddy” skill enables Alexa to send a ‘check on me’ notification to your own Personal Alert Network, just by speaking.
If you have fallen, or need help, Ask My Buddy lets you immediately alert someone in your Personal Alert Network that you need them to check on you. You may alert just 1 contact or all of your friends or family with just one command.
- “Alexa, Ask My Buddy to alert YourContact”
- “Alexa, Ask My Buddy to alert everyone”
“Ask My Buddy” will immediately send an alert, notifying them to check on you right away. Alerts will be sent by text message / SMS, an email, and even a voice telephone call.
Book a Ride
You can instantly book a ride with the help of Uber and Lyft skill. For this you need link you Uber and Lyft account and fill the payment options. And you are ready to command Alexa to book a ride for you in minutes. Along with that, you can choose the car type, change the pickup location, track the ride and even cancel the ride.
- “Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride”
- “Alexa, ask Lyft how much a Lyft Plus from home to work costs.”
- “Alexa, ask Uber to change my default pickup location.”
- “Alexa, tell Lyft to rate my driver five stars.”
Vacuuming your home
There are a variety of robot vacuums skills that controls the robot vacuum cleaners. Now vacuuming can be done without usi9ng your hands. The skills include: iRobot Home, Neato Botvac Connected, and the Samsung Smart Home complete can be used to command the Alexa-enabled device to start or stop cleaning or where to clean.
- “Alexa, tell Samsung to turn on robot vacuum”
- “Alexa, ask Roomba to start cleaning.”
- “Alexa, tell Shark to pause my robot.”
Pair Bluetooth Devices
It’s always good to get tasks done hands-free! You can command your Alexa-enable device to pair a bluetooth device, connect or disconnect the device from phone.
- “Alexa, pair” or “Alexa, Bluetooth.”
- “Alexa, connect to my phone.”
- “Alexa, disconnect from my phone.”
Enabling a Kayak skill can assist you in planning your vacation or trips. You need a set up account for Kayak for this. This skill will help you find places for vacation, flights, hotels and set your budget.
- “Alexa, open KAYAK”
- “Alexa, ask KAYAK how much it costs to fly from New York to Boston”
- “Alexa, ask KAYAK to book a hotel”
- “Alexa, ask KAYAK where can I go for 500 dollars.”
Start your car
The Hyundai Blue Link Skill allows the owners of Hyundai vehicle to control various features remotely like Remote Start, set the desired interior cabin temperature, Remote Lock/Unlock, Remote Start Charge/Stop Charge, Remote Horn & Lights and more using Alexa.
(Note: The Blue Link Skill currently supports all 2017 or later Blue Link equipped vehicles, the following 2016 vehicles: Hyundai Genesis, Azera, Tucson (Limited Trim), Sonata (SE, Sport Limited, Sport 2.0T, Limited 2.0T, Eco 1.6T), Sonata Hybrid (Limited Ultimate package), Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, Veloster (Tech package), Elantra GT (Tech package) and the following 2015 vehicles: Hyundai Genesis, Sonata with Factory-installed Navigation, Azera).
- “Alexa, tell Blue Link to start my Sonata and set the temperature to 72 degrees”
- “Alexa, tell Blue Link to lock my Sonata.”
- “Alexa, tell Blue Link to flash the lights of my Sonata.”
Get latest updates to weather by various Weather skill. As part of your Flash Briefing, Alexa will provide a brief update on the current weather conditions, and the forecast for the day.
- “Alexa, what’s the weather like?” or “Alexa, will it rain today?”. You can also ask “Alexa, will I need an umbrella today?”
- “Alexa, what’s the weather going to be like this weekend?
- “Alexa, what’s my commute look like?” or “Alexa, what’s traffic like?”
Ask Alexa to try things
Enabling this skill will provide a useful daily tip on new and existing Alexa features.This skill can be accessed on all your available Alexa devices.
- “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?”
- “Alexa, what’s in the news?”
Make Call to Alexa-enabled device
You can make audio or video calls to and from other Alexa-enabled devices such as the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and also through the Alexa app on your smartphone. While commanding the Alexa app or Echo to call the contact number then Alexa will search for the name within the Alexa app or the Echo device, and then present the option of calling the person.
- “Alexa, call [name].”
- “Alexa, answer the call” or “Alexa, answer.”
- “Alexa, hang up” or “Alexa, end the call.”
- “Alexa, drop in on [name].”
- “Turn video off.”
Get your personal trainer
The 7-Minute Workout skill will guide you to keep in shape. It is described as a scientifically proven set of exercises designed to increase metabolism, improve energy, lower stress, and best of all, remove fat! It’s a small daily commitment for such enormous benefits.
- “Alexa, start seven minute workout.”
- “Start workout”