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The Helpful Assistant You Never Knew You Wanted

Written by Jennifer Traynor

In any busy family home, every little bit of help is appreciated. What mom doesn’t wish she had an assistant that can help keep track of all those appointments and extracurricular activities, order items off the shopping list or even adjust the temperature on the thermostat. Well now you can, and her name is Alexa.

Alexa comes courtesy of this handy little device from Amazon called Echo. This hands-free speaker uses voice activation to connect to Alexa, a cloud-based voice service that acts as a digital virtual assistant. The enhanced speaker uses Dolby technology and has seven microphones, allowing it to hear your voice from across the room.

Need more toilet paper? Ask Alexa to add it to your shopping list, or better yet, ask Alexa to place the order through your Amazon account. Want to listen to music? Tell Alexa to play music from Prime Music, Radioplayer, Spotify and more. Are you helping your son with his homework but don’t want to forget about the casserole in the oven? Ask Alexa to set a timer for you to help avoid a potential dinner mishap.

The Echo is also compatible with various outlets, thermostats, door locks, lighting and home entertainment systems, which means you can control your lights, turn down the temperature in your house and even lock your front door with a simple voice command to Alexa.

Download the Alexa app on your mobile device to customize your Echo using various Skills, which you can use to hear the latest news, get the current forecast or find out the traffic on your route to work all by enabling Skills of your choice.

For families that choose to have more than one Echo in the home, you can setup the Drop-In feature for room-to-room calls. With a simple voice prompt to Alexa, you can easily connect with Echo devices in other rooms of your house. Whether you’re calling everyone to the kitchen for dinner or soothing your baby without even entering the nursery, the Echo can help.

As a busy mother of two kids, I wish I had an assistant like this in my home. I wonder though, on top of everything else, will Alexa fold my laundry and put it away? Wishful thinking? Hey, a mom can dream, right?


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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.