For years, I have been trying to control electronics with my voice. I think it started in 1999 with my first Samsung cell phone. At that time, I had to go through each contact and record my voice saying my contacts, and it would call them. To be honest, I can’t say that much has improved since then. On the one hand, I have Siri at my fingertip, and my friends have Google Assistant, but truthfully, both of those services leave much to be desired. From my iPhone, I still cannot say in plain English “Play Pandora, Sevendust Radio.” To put it mildly, voice recognition has stunk, until last month when I bought my first Amazon Echo. Everything has changed now, and in a huge way.
To start, the first thing I did after taking it out of the box and setting it up, was say “Alexa, play Pandora Sevendust Radio,” and it immediately fired up and started playing my favorite rock band. I then asked it for things like “give me the local weather,” “set my alarm for 6am tomorrow,” and all worked flawlessly. But as a home automation guy, I was not ready for what happened after that.
It appears that with the Alexa, Amazon has been sending out their info to 3rd party manufacturers like Samsung, Control4, and many other automation companies. The result is that minutes after setup, I can now say things like “Close the Garage door,” Lock the front Door,” “Turn up the lights,” “change the temperature to 70 degrees,” and so much more. In fact, the amount of phrases I can tell Alexa is almost limitless. I can also write my own custom phrases like “Turn on Family Room Netflix” and the living room will come alive and do everything needed to get you all the way into the Netflix menu inside your TV.
Normally with new products, I say things like “with time, this will be an incredible technology.” Now with the Amazon Echo, I can truly say that out of the gate, this technology has blown me away, and will only get more amazing with time.