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Alexa voice assistant: thousands of tasks - one solution


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If you don’t like saying the word “Alexa” to wake your Echo, do not be discouraged. Of course, you will not be able to change the name of Alexa to anything, but you can easily change it to "Amazon", "Echo", or "Computer". This trigger word for the Echo column is also known as activating.

Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant

Although the Alexa virtual assistant only became popular in the last two years, it has been under development since 2010, and a prototype of the model replicated today appeared in 2014. This year, Jeff Bezos brought Amazon Echo, the “smart speaker,” to an exhibition of modern technology.

The device was a black column (cylinder), inside of which a microphone and a voice recognition system were built-in. In order to activate the assistant, it was necessary to say “Alex”, and then only with the help of voice commands you can shop at the Amazon online store, order food at home, listen to music and surf the Web.

And although Bezos was the first company to introduce a device with a virtual assistant not on a smartphone, the whole idea was not new. Users already knew the Siri assistants from Apple and the Assistant from Google. The price of Amazon Echo was $ 179. It is worth noting that the presentation and the technology itself left a double impression on users and critics. There were complaints about the assistant’s bad reaction: the command was not executed immediately, or was generally ignored.

New Trend - Home Voice Assistant

Over 4 years, the technology has undergone several changes, and its functionality has been expanded. Now the modern Alexa system has 15 thousand skills. This is despite the fact that in mid-2016 the system supported only 1000 functions.

This figure allowed to take a leading position in the market of virtual assistants, despite all the attempts of Google Home, Microsoft and Apple to catch up with Alexa. While competitors are working to improve technology, Amazon is already talking about assistant Alex as the main operating system for the “Internet of things”.

How to manage Alexa virtual assistant and what it can do

To activate the device, it is still enough to say the name of the assistant. In order for the system to be able to accurately execute the command, it is necessary to speak clearly.

If you introduce it into the "smart home" system, or at least buy a special adapter (for a socket or a lamp), then using voice commands you can control the light, turn off the sockets, adjust the sound of music, and more.

Cancellation of any command should begin with the words "Alexa, off" or similar phrases in meaning.

If you install special video cameras, “smart locks” on the doors and fire protection system, then Alexa will also protect your home from uninvited guests and fire. When the owners of the house are absent, the system will notify them via a smartphone of the doorbell or attempted entry (if necessary, turn on the siren).

Today, the most popular Alexa skills are updating and voice acting (“flash briefing”), the owner chooses the categories of interest on his own. But this is only a small part of the functions, and judging by the development of AI, in the future ours will have even more functions.

Alexa not only fulfills, but thinks

Alex’s virtual assistant is able to not only execute the command, but also analyze it, try to predict the wishes and moods of the owner. You can simply talk with an Amazon assistant, find out about his favorite color, exchange jokes and ask to be reminded of an important event.

The novelty could not be missed by the manufacturers of vehicles and equipment. So Volkswagen and Ford have already expressed a desire to integrate the Alexa system into new car models, and Whirlpool has released a whole line of large household appliances that will be managed by a virtual assistant.

In addition, the developers have an idea to teach Alexa how to cook. This means that users will be able to get not only an interlocutor in the kitchen, but also an assistant who can at least reheat food (if ovens and microwaves with Alexa support appear).

It is quite difficult to predict how developed systems with AI similar to Alex will be. This is due to unlimited possibilities that go beyond the current understanding of the functionality of technology. However, it is safe to say that Alexa’s voice assistant and its competitors will certainly be in demand in the future, and they will move from the category of “fashionable gadget” into an urgent need. The secret to success is the incredible simplicity and naturalness of use, so "addiction" occurs literally the first time.

Amazon Alexa, what is it?

Amazon Alexa is a virtual assistant designed to compete with other similar helpers such as Apple's Siri, Google Now and others. Alexa was created in Lab126. She can listen to your voice commands and respond to them with her messages when the task is completed. Alexa is ready to help you listen to music on the Spotify streaming service, make a to-do list and monitor items in your home Internet of things, such as Philips Hue lights or the Google Nest thermostat.

Initially, Alexa was popularized when working with Amazon Echo speaker, which functions not only as a column, but also as a hub for smart home devices. Today it can work on many other devices. This virtual assistant is constantly being developed and updated. Of course, she may experience some problems with command recognition, like any other similar assistant. But by connecting to Amazon's cloud storage, it automatically updates. And the technology of machine learning makes it for the owner more useful as you work.

Alexa, why are you Alexa? How did voice assistants come up with names

Date Published: 2017-01-20 11:10:00

Where did the names of virtual assistants come from

Digital assistants from leading technology companies have already become a familiar part of our daily lives. But few people wondered where their names came from. Mashable learned how Siri and Alexa came about.

When developers come up with a name for the digital assistant, they check out a few things. Firstly, the name should be unique, but simple so that users can easily remember it. Secondly, it should be easy to pronounce, but not merge with other words. That is, the name should stand out. And finally, the name should fit the brand of the company.

Most voice assistants have one thing in common: they have female voices. Many experts believe that women's voices sound nicer. However, some see this as an unpleasant hint: only a woman can be an assistant, so this is her usual role. Be that as it may, everyone is already used to the fact that digital assistants are usually female.

Mashable found out where the names came from the very first and most popular digital assistants. Sostav has selected several of them.


Creating this assistant, Amazon was inspired by science fiction. The goal, according to a statement by Amazon Vice President, was to create a device that repeats the computer from the series "Star Trek." This famous computer could answer any command.

However, the name Alexa did not come from a fantastic future, but from a long past. The name, as David Limp, senior vice president of Amazon, says, should be reminiscent of the great Alexandria Library from Ancient Egypt.


“We chose from several names,” Limp said, adding that the name helps build a personality for shapeless artificial intelligence.

Since Alexa is a fairly common name in some countries, some problems may arise. People may accidentally call a voice assistant, not each other. Therefore, Amazon came up with two more teams: Amazon and Echo.

What devices does Amazon Alexa work with?

Amazon allows you to install Alexa now not only on the Echo hub, but also on other hubs. Third-party developers add Alexa support to their smart home devices. Integration of a virtual assistant is also possible on some smart watches. Amazon Alexa support has already received:

  • Amazon Echo Dot.
  • Tap.
  • Fire tv.
  • LG SmartThingQ.
  • Pebble Core
  • Nucleus Anywhere.
  • CoWatch.
  • Many other hubs and devices.

Alexa virtual assistant can be controlled using a central mobile application. You can download it in the AppStore, Google Play or directly in the Amazon Appstore. The application allows you to set tasks for the virtual assistant and configure the system completely for you. Also, the application allows you to expand the capabilities of Alexa, adding new Skills to it. Alexa Skills are optional extensions directly from Amazon or third-party developers. Managing these extensions through the virtual assistant application is very simple. Currently available over 3,000 different Skills.

What Amazon Alexa is capable of

With Amazon Alexa, you can:

  • Make a to-do list for a day or for a whole week ahead via Google Calendar.
  • Combine the management of smart home devices and assign Alexa tasks related to them.
  • Get access to music streaming services and listen to your favorite music.
  • Get access to other entertainment services from third-party developers using Skills extensions.
  • Using different Skills, find out the results of sporting events, call a taxi through Lyft or make an original cocktail using the The Bartender extension.

The main features of the virtual assistant are limited by a fairly standard set: managing the Internet of things of your smart home, launching streaming services, searching for information on the Internet and working with some Google services. But thanks to Skills extensions, you will be able to feel absolutely all the capabilities of the system, to fully appreciate its advantages. To improve and "know better" his Alex can almost endlessly. True, so far only in English.