Amazon had big hopes for Alexa when it released it in 2014. The company suggested voice assistants. Smartphones can succeedas the next primary consumer interface.
Alexa, which is part of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker has been one of the most used voice assistants along with Apple. SiriGoogle assistant.
But almost a decade later questions remain about the usefulness and effectiveness of voice assistants. This includes how often Alexa is used to purchase subscriptions or shop for items. In November, Amazon has started laying off corporate workersSome of them focused on the division that makes Echo speakers and Alexa.
Amazon representatives pointed to comments made its executives that the company is Don’t give up on AlexaIt will continue to add new features.
We made the decision to RequestsReaders are asked to tell Alexa how they use it and how it fits into their lives. Nearly 200 people responded in Europe and the United States.
Many who relied on Alexa for voice assistance said that they used it mostly for mundane tasks, such as setting timers and checking weather. Many people claimed they became too attached to Alexa and it was lost while they were away. Most people said that Alexa was not used to help them shop. Others stated emphatically that Alexa is not something they will use.
Below are some examples of responses by our readers. They have been edited for clarity and condensed.
When you live alone, consider a partner
Susan Jackson lives on Bainbridge Island in Washington and has two Alexa enabled devices.
I am 73 years old and live alone. Alexa helps me to know the weather, turn on lights, and tells me the time in foreign places so I can call my loved ones. Alexa solves many cooking problems. It helps me reduce prescriptions. She patiently tells how many teaspoons in a tablespoon.
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It is used for both reading lights and my Christmas tree. Nothing is worse that crawling under a Christmas tree to turn it off.
I must find someone to love me if I meet them. They have to love my house, Alexa, Alexa, my drawing and my friends or they will go to hell.
Referee during discussions
David Webster resides in Cornwall, England with their three children and his wife. He stated that Alexa devices are used by them several times per day.
They are used for so many things. Without it, we’d be lost.
These are timers. I know that if there is an Alexa timer, it is working. If Janine, my wife, is cooking something, many of her recipes come from American cookbooks. You will need to convert them into the metric system.
I can do this on the phone. But my hands are too wet or my spouse has flour in her hands. We open the oven. I don’t like touching another device. It is very convenient to talk to it.
If we’re having a conversation around the dining room table and she’s in another room, shout “Alexa …”.”
Caring for a parent suffering from dementia
Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis. To protect her mother’s privacy, Elizabeth requested that her maiden name not be used. Elizabeth doesn’t use Alexa in the home, but her mom has two screens on her devices. She and her sister use Alexa to remotely manage the devices of their mom.
My mom has dementia, and Alexa allows us to keep her safe, give her buddies, make her days brighter with music — the list goes on and on. It is not an exaggeration for us to say that it helps us get her from a nursing home.
The app is mainly used to create “adsThese are phrases that we enter into the app and then the device speaks them out loud. This feature is available in real time, as well as on a regular basis. My mom can also read the text on the Echo, which is a big help. A good example of this is small weather announcements. She finds it comforting to have someone there to talk to her.
Use the appfall inOur iPhone cameras allow us to pop up on one her Echo devices (with extra Blink cameras we can see her room) and start a conversation without her having any input. If she’s not using her phone or if it is helpful or necessary for us to see them, we can use this.
We also useroutineTo control the light in my mother’s apartment. Her doctor says that it is important to keep her home lit in order to manage her confusion and avoid daytime napping. The Routine feature allows us to avoid having to make multiple calls to remind her of the activities.
Alexa on staff
Maria Kinnaman resides in Miami with her husband, and two young daughters. They have six Alexa gadgets.
Alexa feels like she’s part of the staff at this point. They are often used for music, but also for weather and white noise. We have synced them with our home security system so that they can lock and set alarms for the doors. I didn’t make one purchase.
Alexa has been with me on vacations that last more than a few days.
Brendan T. Freeman lives with his two dogs in Burren, Washington. He has 60 Alexa controlled devices in his home including lights, fans and heaters.
Every morning I get up at 3:30 am to have coffee and read The New York Times. I walk into the kitchen and say the wake-up word — “shake” — which lights and dims three fixtures (one in the kitchen so I can see, one in the living room and one in the bedroom). The Alexa app activates the coffee maker at 3:20.
While I’m reading the news on my laptop, my Alexa app plays Pandora light jazz at 4 AM while I’m in bed.
I get up at 7 a.m. and look at my calendar. I tell Alexa to set alarms 10 minutes prior to any meetings I have. If there’s something I need to remember to do during the day (buy dog food, call the doctor’s office), I’ll ask Alexa to set a reminder at a certain time.
When I go to bed, I say, “Bedtime echo,” and all the lights go out throughout the apartment.
Yiu Wai Chen lives in Brooklyn, with his wife and their two children, ages 11-12. They have 13 Alexa-enabled smart devices and nine others.
We use it to turn the lights in our living room on and off, and to download (talk to Alexa devices from our phone) from the car to check on our children.
We don’t plan to shop in them, as we like the opportunity to research and see the items in person before making a purchase.
Smart life hack
Michael Redmond lives with his wife in Rehoboth Beach. Their seven Alexa devices are joined by three Google smart devices.
A Wyze camera is trained on our sump pump in the crawl space. We’re showing Alexa views of its feed with an Alexa view. It hurts to go down to check on the pump.
We don’t use it to shop at Amazon. It is very difficult for you to compare prices using this device.
We always take the Alexa Dot when we travel.
Four appliances in one Brooklyn apartment
Keri Hoffman lives with her husband and cat in Brooklyn. They have four Alexa enabled devices.
My husband set up the Alexa controlled automatic blinds. It can open and close blinds fully, and it can also adjust the shades up or down. We say to Alexa, “Alexa, set your living room curtains at 3 percent,” and she will open the curtains so that we can see outside.
It’s a huge risk
Aaron Lawless resides in Springfield, Virginia, with his wife and two kids.
In these times of massive hacks, data breaches, it’s just not worth having an internet-connected listening system in my home.
My wife and I don’t want Alexa. But my 10-year-old son has suggested it might be fun to have Alexa. He hears friends talking about Alexa, and he is sold on how great it is. My mom and mine agree that this won’t be possible.
Not even useful
Heather Kiefer lives with her husband, and their 15-year-old son in suburban Chicago.
It is vital to keep Alexa, Echo, and other devices out of your family. We must keep these devices out of our household. We’ve brought back the Gifted. We don’t want them.
Alexa was a friend who helped me set the oven timer. Although it worked, setting the oven timer was fine (maybe even easier).
I refuse to give up my privacy in exchange for things I can do without.
My fingers work fine
Richard Fury resides in Shelburne Falls with his wife.
One is not necessary. One is not necessary. They should go.
I’m not so lazy I need a machine that can turn on the lights, lock doors, or switch Netflix to Hulu for my. My fingers and legs still work perfectly.
I don’t want companies using Alexa to learn more my lifestyle, political leanings, and habits. Alexa is destroying my privacy, which I value.
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