Amazon announced their latest device this week called the Echo Show – see here for ordering. It is basically a communication device to humans and your home. Control the house, chat/video a friend, view the news, and see the world (I could be their new copy writer). You can even get your doctor to make a visit. I think some people will like the video chat aspect, but others will be bothered by “being on demand” 24/7. Meanwhile, users of that newest Echo, the Echo Show, which has the screen and video feature, will get added services, it seems. One new feature is called “Drop In” — which lets you make a call to someone without them even answering the phone first. Kind of like someone coming to your house and either peeking through the window as they’re knocking, or maybe just walking straight in.
So has the Jetsons future finally come to fruition? (Here is all the info about the Jetsons for the youths of this blog). I think it has really already been here, but Amazon has repackaged technologies we’re already using. But to their credit they are becoming experts at these devices and marketing them. Amazon has quite a line up of devices using Alexa, including the new or ).
But it has its uses. For example, you can check in on elderly relatives, or letting your family in another room know it’s time for dinner — or perhaps making sure you kid is really doing homework and not watching YouTube.
Here are a few more day to day uses for the Amazon Echo Show:
Make phone calls (basically, landline calls)
Just when you thought house phones were dead, Amazon is keeping them alive, except you can do it over Wifi. However, you will need the Alexa App on both ends.
Control your home
Controlling your lights, door locks, appliances, switches and other smart home devices is probably what Alexa is best at doing. You can browse the smart home compatibility devices to see what you can control.
- Control your lights. You can ask Alexa to turn lights on or off. She’ll even change the color if the lights are color-changing.
- Open or close your garage door. Smart garage door openers like work with Alexa.
- Change the temperature. “Hey Alexa, set the temperature to 68.” , and are just a few thermostats that work with Alexa.
Control your TV
Stop looking around for the remote – Alexa can control your TV “almost” entirely by voice. The setup takes some money and time, but once you’re set up, you can say things like:
- Alexa, turn on the TV.
- Alexa, turn on Netflix.
- Alexa, tell Harmony to pause
I just don’t know if voice activated devices will be popular forever. While I think it’s very cool, it is also annoying. And not practical in every situation.
Use Spotify to play music
By default, Alexa plays music through Amazon Music, but if you use Spotify, you can change this setting so that Alexa uses Spotify as the default player. Here’s how.
Visit from your doctor
Again this is a technology that has been around, but somehow having this Amazon device as a the centerpiece, it seems natural to invite your doctor into the house. One of the telemedicine companies doing this now is MeDoc.
At the end of the day, Im not sure if Im bought into this eco-system from Amazon. If you’re a Prime member, it may be a no brainer, it connects the Amazon world. But I think there still a few more bugs to iron out, mainly that it needs to work outside the Amazon eco-system. Rumor has it that Apple and Microsoft have similar products to unroll, so we’ll see who can do it better.