Alexa is no longer "new." The smart-tech revolution is now in full swing, and the Amazon Echo is the heart of it. According to Edison Research, nearly 40 million people have voice-controlled speakers, which are about 1 in 6 American adults.
If you want to rely on the speaker system itself, thousands of sophisticated skills can enhance your Alexa experience.  Automate actions with "Routines." In reality, a human assistant does not require separate inquiries. Assistants already know your morning routine and they know what you need (well the best) without having to ask for all the little things.
Alexa can now mimic this behavior, thanks to its "routines" feature. For example, you can say "Alexa, I'm home!" And Alexa can greet you, turn on your living room's bright lights, read the daily news and play a specific music playlist. Or you can say "Alexa, Good Night," and she can answer, "Sweet Dreams", lock your doors, set the thermostat to a set temperature, turn off all your lights and play binaural white noise to relieve you sleep.
To create a routine in the Alexa app, go to the menu and then click on Routines. Press the plus sign (+) to start a new sequence. Select When this happens, select the shutter button. The trigger can be an expression, a schedule or a motion sensor event. Then choose Add Action to start building the routine. To unpack it, select the device you want to trigger the routine from, and then tap Create.
Make announcements. Another feature you can try with more Amazon Echos is to set them up as multiroom intercoms. With this feature, you can use your smart speakers to broadcast an announcement to the entire house, much like at a school, airport or cruise ship.
Amazon Echos also has a function called "Drop In". This feature lets you connect instantly to any echo gadgets in your house, handsfree, without waiting for someone to pick up the conversation. Even better, you can also escape remotely to your friends and relatives' Echos.
To set this up, open the Alexa app, go to Settings, then select the desired echo device and press Drop In. Now you choose either On or My household only to enable Drop In calls. To call an echo, just say "Alexa, Drop in" followed by the name of the echo you want to call.
Hands free phone calls. Like the Bluetooth speaker in your car, you can use Alexa to add hands-free phone calls. Simply link your mobile number to echo and it will let you call someone from your contact list.
To enable Alexa calls, you need an Amazon account, mobile number, and Alexa app installed on your phone. Just open the Alexa app, go to the conversations dialog box (on the bottom menu, it has a speech bubble icon), follow the onscreen instructions to confirm and associate your mobile number.
Translate language. For decades, futurists have dreamed of a universal translator. The idea of talking into a computer and receiving an instant transcript in English has always seemed like a distant dream. But Echo can now do just that – a paradigm shift for meetings, foreign students or Couch Surfing hosts.
Echo requires a skill called Translated to interpret one language to another. After enabling this skill, you can say "Alexa, Open Translated," then ask how you speak English words and phrases in a particular language. Translated proficiency currently supports more than 35 languages.
Check your TV. Like Apple and Google, Amazon is smart at developing networks across its many devices. One of the best examples is Amazon's Four TV Stick, which you can control remotely by talking to the echo.
To configure this, open the Alexa app, and then select Music, Video, and Books. Select Fire TV, then Connect your Alexa device, and follow the onscreen instructions to select the devices you want to connect to. To confirm the link, tap Link Devices. If you only have a Fire TV registered on your Amazon account, it will automatically connect to your echo.
To use your voice as a remote control, say "Alexa", followed by a play command, such as "pause," "forward, or" skip an episode. "You can also tell Alexa to search for a particular video and open Other programs on smart TV.
Multiroom audio. If you have more Echos in your home (including Echo Dot and Show), you can set them up to play the same music at the same time, much like having a centralized speaker system in your house.
Go to Settings in the Alexa app then Scroll down to find audio groups and select Multi-Room Music. See all your smart homegroups. Choose Add Group and Amazon Multi-Room Music Group. for your new group, then add the echo devices you want to include.
Listen to Kim Komanda's show from 1 am to 4 pm. Sundays on KRMG am740 or fm102.3. Read her columns or receive newsletters at komando.com .