I was one of the early adopters of the Amazon Echo. We fondly call her Alexa. I’ve had it for a few months now and it’s an interesting personal assistant appliance. It’s always plugged in, always on, and always listening (which admit was initially a bit disconcerting, but we’ve gotten over that). If I call out to it, a bluish-white ring light activates and it patiently waits for a command. It’s like a Super Siri and has come in handy for music, timers, weather, news, trivia and just about anything else you might ask of it.
So why get an Echo and not just use Siri (or Cortana our something else)? You get an Echo to serve as the hub to connect your home and for all the future capability that Amazon plans to provide. You can already use a host of Wi-Fi controlled lighting and outlet products with the Echo and improvements are made frequently on added functionality to include improved AI logic for a variety of entertainment options along with If This Then That (IFTTT) functionality that opens up a whole new world of programmable connectivity.
So even after a few months, our Echo still feels relatively new. We don’t use it as much as we probably could, but when we do, it’s a pleasant experience and wonder why we don’t use it more often. I can place online orders via Amazon to restock or repurchase frequently used items. For an impromptu dance break or listening to an audio book, it’s a fantastic home-based option. I’ve even used it as an external speaker for my phone or tablet by simply calling out ‘connect’ and having it link to a mobile device. The microphones, speakers and style are just the beginning of a new niche that Amazon is working to own.