At the recent CenturyLink H2 Sales Kick-Off I was presented with the Most Valued Person Award by our EMEA Managing Director Richard Warley. This came as a complete shock to myself, but was a lovely surprise given it was voted for by CenturyLink employees within EMEA. I was presented with a Certificate, Glass Award, Bottle of Champagne as well as an Amazon Echo.
Given I’m a gadget freak according to my wife, this was a lovely gesture by the business. When I got home I was like a child at Christmas frantically trying to unpackage the box before figuring out where I was going to put it in the house.
I’ve not got any smart devices in the house at the moment although I do have a Sonos wireless music system around the house and immediately started to look up if there was an Alexa skill available for it as of yet. At the moment there isn’t an official skill released yet but Sonos are planning on releasing it later this year. I did do some researching with a skill by Yanomi but it didnt appear to work very well so I’ve decided to wait until the official release before trying again.
The week after having won the Amazon Echo; Amazon held there Prime day with substantial discounts on lots of items including both the Echo’s and the Dot’s. The Echo Dots had been reduced from £50 to £35 each and then one of my colleagues found a further discount if we purchased 3 at the same time at £85 for the 3.
I’m still trying to find some skills to use on a daily basis but so far I’ve found that using it for the following is really good:
- Alarm Clock – The echo dot is substantially smaller than my alarm clock so it will be my long term replacement for that.
- Shopping Lists – Just asking Alexa to add stuff to your shopping list as and when you run out rather than forgetting to write it down and do it at a later date.
- Ordering Pizza – Dominos has an Alexa skill which is easy to use.
- Fitbit – If you’ve been a bit lazy with the step count then Alexa will tell you where you’re at for the day, or how well you’ve slept.
- Calendars – Link your Office 365 or Apple iCloud Account and then Alexa becomes your personal assistant.
- Music – Ask Alexa to play music either via Spotify, TuneIn or Amazon Music.
I’ve not tried to develop any Alexa skills myself as of yet, but will in the future look to see if I can do something basic given there is some online videos that show you how to. All in all so far though I’ve been really impressed and given that Amazon sold over 3 million of the Echo devices on Prime day its clear to me that the technology is only going to grow further over the next few years.