Five fun things you can do with Amazon’s Alexa

What can Alexa really do?

David Quinn: BrightHR Social Media Manager

When voice technology first appeared it was, as with most innovative tech, seen as a novelty, with little useful application for real life. But things are changing fast and its use around the home is really starting to take shape.

Whilst the everyday useful applications continue to improve we shouldn’t lose sight that Alexa can, and should be fun to use. That’s why we have put this blog to give you five fun things you can do with Alexa.

Pretend you’re in a sci-fi and create a smart home

Do you remember those futuristic TV shows where people could control everything with their voice. Well, the future is nearly here. With smart technology linked to Alexa you can use your voice as a TV remote, change the light settings just by asking, play music on demand, adjust your central heating temperature, lock doors and with smart plugs you can even turn on any device plugged into the system.

The technology is also moving out of the home and into the car. Ford, Seat, Volkswagen, BMW, these are just a few of the manufacturers looking to integrate smart technology into their cars. Image being able to start the car just before you leave the house and unlock your house from inside your car. For the British consumer that means less time sat in freezing cars on a winter's morning and less time fumbling for those keys whilst it's absolutely chucking it down. The dream is nearly here!

Pig out without ever having to leave the sofa. Well nearly

Everyone loves a good pizza and with Alexa ordering, one is even easier. With the Domino’s skill, you can order your favourite pizza by just asking "Alexa, ask Domino's to feed me". Alexa will then read back your order and you can ask for updates on the progress of your pizza, even if you didn't order it using Alexa.

Other food delivery services such as Just Eat also have skills available and more are set for release. Just like your pizza delivery driver they’re bound to be just around the corner.

If you combine this with the smart home it all means you can control everything from your sofa and you can really slob out. The only time you’ll have to get up is to answer the door for the delivery and surely they must be working on that?

Stop thinking for a while

The worst bit about being an adult is that you are constantly having to make decisions. What am I going to have for dinner tonight? What movie should I watch? Do I need a coat today? I for one am not ready for that kind of responsibility. If only there was a way to offload these major decisions.

Step forward, Alexa.

With a host of skills you can ask her to suggest meal ideas from the ingredients you have, get step by step cooking instructions read out to you in real time, request movie recommendations based on your past viewing and ask what the weather will be like today without having to get out of bed to peek outside.

By taking away these key decisions it frees you up to concentrate on the more important things in life, like watching cat videos on the internet.

Open the Easter eggs

If you own a voice technology such as Amazon’s Alexa you’re bound to have asked it a silly question. Alexa, tell me a joke, Alexa, how old are you? Alexa, what is the meaning of life? It’s par for the course when it comes to new technology such as this.

But the technology is evolving and to show off this development what better way than adding a host of hidden responses to questions. A fan of film? Why not ask Alexa to use the force or ask what the first rule of fight club is? But it isn’t just movies, songs, books, cultural references and of course dad jokes they’re all in there hidden away. There’s a whole host of questions you can ask with hilarious results, obviously.  

Sort the tea round at work

If there’s one thing that can cause all-out war in the office it’s someone missing the tea round, or worse still, someone refusing to do a round even though they accept brews on other people’s rounds. The humanity! Well, worry no more, we’ve built an Easter egg into our Alexa integration and we call it Brewlette.

Using your employee data you only have to open up the BrightHR skill, say Brewlette and Alexa will pick a member of your staff at random to make the brews. No more fighting over whose round it is, no more tea round related fallouts.

Find out more about our Alexa skill here, or if you are a BrightHR customer you can download our skill now.