Amazon Alexa Review – the best assistant for your home?

Read our Amazon Alexa review and learn is it the best assistant for your home or not.

What is Amazon Alexa? This is a voice assistant that should turn your home into a listening Smart Home. Alexa can do more than adjust light bulbs, tell jokes or give the weather forecast. We will take a look at the features, compare them with those of some competitors and make a verdict.
First steps to convert your home into a Smart Home.

What is Amazon Alexa?

Alexa is the name of the voice assistant whose artificial intelligence develops in the large Amazon research centers. Between you, the assistant comes in the form of Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. Both cylinders respond to the call “Alexa” which can be followed by additional voice commands. So you can control Smart Home devices, ask for weather forecasts, initiate phone calls or choose a song from the Amazon database, Spotify or even turn on the radio.
Amazon Alexa Review best assistant for your home Everything is accompanied by several pitfalls. The reason lies in the fact that Amazon keeps its ecosystem closed. Even some Smart Home devices cannot be controlled via Alexa or only partially allows it. If you use Google Cast devices like Raumfeld’s Cubes, Alexa will refuse to play Spotify’s music via Google Cast; if instead you connect the Echo Dot via jack the music will be played also through your old stereo system.

Alexa: the gateway to the Amazon world

Already in the Alexa app to be installed for free you can see what skills hide the intelligent assistant. Offers that are somehow connected to the Amazon purchase ecosystem often come out too.
• Music and books: play songs, radio, series, Kindle eBooks on your Alexa device. In addition to its services, Amazon only supports Spotify or TuneIn. The books are in audio format.
• Lists: writes and elaborates reminders and shopping lists and links them to Anydo or Todoist; Google Keep or Wunderlist.
• Stopwatch and alarm clock let me remind you to remove the dough from the stove after seven minutes or wake up at nine o’clock on Saturday morning.
• Skill: expand Alexa also with voice-controlled functions to also use Wunderlist for example.
• Smart Home: connect Smart Home devices like Philips Hue with Alexa. In this regard, additional skills could be foreseen.
• Calendar: you can connect Alexa with the Google or Microsoft calendar. This facilitates integration with third-party services and saves you the manual transmission of data.

What does this really mean with these skills?

Alexa alone cannot do much. The voice assistant can tell you what time it is, if it rains the next day, you can play the next song with Amazon Music, launch the next movie with the Fire TV Stick or launch an app. With these, the basic functions are exhausted. The rest comes in the form of skill (skill).
In the meantime, competitors (see below) open their systems to third-party suppliers via interfaces. So you can control the services used so far on the smartphone as an app or on the web through sites using the voice assistant. The vocabulary and feedback of the web service are still limited to question-answer combinations, but in the face of a parallel expansion of bots, it could become more complex.

What does Alexa do about it?

Amazon is committed to protecting your privacy. You will have the possibility to cancel the voice commands later. Google experts will tell you: “Even Google Assistant can do it!”. True, but in part. On Google you can separate the voice commands from your account, Google will not delete them from its servers, as written on the support page .
This is possible on Amazon. The disadvantage obviously lies in the fact that artificial intelligence could lose important material with which to improve itself. Details are explained on the support page for Alexa. Since registrations could be used by security authorities, this option is not well viewed.
Another peculiarity of the Echo devices and not the voice assistant Alexa is the “deaf” mode. If you press the crossed-out microphone on the top of the Echo devices, the circle turns red and the microphone is separated from the power supply. You need to press the button on each individual Echo speaker if you want to turn your Smart Home into an Alexa-free zone.

What alternatives are there to Alexa?

With the Echo Dot and Echo devices, Amazon was able to bring his voice assistant Alexa. Apple, Google or Microsoft solutions come to us without dedicated hardware but are integrated via updates into the devices that many of us have.
Siri infiltrates iPhone and Apple TV, Assistant in both Google Pixel and Android Wear 2 watches, Cortana on all Windows devices and Xbox One. Amazon, on the other hand, presents a hardware for Alexa and is offered at a good price both on Echo Dot and as a voice remote control Alexa for the Fire TV Stick.
Common to all assistants is an app system in the style of Alexa skills. All the assistants integrate themselves in some way with Philips Hue. Everyone needs an internet connection for their basic functions. Everyone has a listening function waiting for you to call them “Hey Siri”, “Okay Google”, “Hey Cortana”, or “Alexa” for the recorder to start and send the recording home. The question is now who learns what is said to him faster.

Alexa wants to get there first?

Amazon leads the assistants’ race. The Echo devices are also improved from the hardware point of view, while we in Germany are still waiting for the first competitors. A first look at the list of skills shows that we still need to work on quality.
In everyday life one perceives the lack of quality in the form of misunderstood data, clumsy vocal commands and above all, from the user’s point of view, incomprehensible difficulties. Amazon does not want us to use Google Cast and does not want us to book Sky Online. It does not allow us to listen to music from Apple Music and to call with Skype instead of Alexa.

Conclusion

Alexa can stay ahead of the race only if I, as a user, can carry on my habits with the new system. If I can not do it, at least I pretend that the passage for me and my contacts is not too difficult, All this Alexa can not assure me. System limitations are currently greater than the advantages. So you do not go anywhere.
As far as I’m concerned, Google has an extra gear. The same applies to Apple and iCloud customers. I already use their app and their accounts, I already sync my data with the respective services and without difficulty I will be able to enter the world of the AI optimized server. If these two producers play the right cards, Alexa can start packing. But maybe I’m not right. What do you think?