Top 10 Best Alexa Skills

 

Amazon Alexa Skills

With 10,00 skills and counting , Amazon Alexa is the ever improving ultimate personal assistant. From daily news feeds to self improvement tips, Alexa skills, combine IoT and AI technology and endeavour to cover everyday life bringing a flavour of the future things to come in home automation.

Expectations call for an exponential growth of Alexa skills available on the market in the nearest future, making competitor’s job of the likes of Google, harder. In fact, Amazon announced in March a new programme with purposes of encouraging developers to work on new Alexa skills that will ultimately add value to Alexa experience.

According to Amazon, the programme will give developers with a published Alexa Skill, the opportunity to build and host Alexa skills using AWS platform by receiving $100 of free credit. Plus $100 of monthly credit if AWS charges are incurred in relation to the published skill.  This is on top of the already existing AWS no charge tier which offers up to 750 hours of Amazon EC2 compute power and and AWS Lambda requests.

Clearly, Alexa Skills are destined to grow in number. But what are the Top 10 Alexa Skills that impressed the most so far? Let’s find find out…

MASTERMIND

Mastermind Alexa SkillMastermind connects your smartphone, personal computer, and television to Alexa’s voice-enabled services. It provides a number of features, from SMS Messaging, Phone calls , phone location to reading articles out loud and hands-free navigation. Due to high demand and closed beta the is a waiting list for having it enabled. If you are impatient there is the pay option of $15 to get straight access. Either way is worth it…

My Chef

My Chef Alexa Skill

My Chef features inventory management, shopping list creating/sharing, and recipe searching. You can activate My Chef by saying “Alexa, open my chef”. Then you can interact with the skill by saying things such as “What’s expiring?” “How old is the chicken breast?” “Send the shopping list to …” etc. This could really solve the problem of needless kitchen waste..

Uber

Uber Alexa Skill

With Uber Skill you can request a ride in minutes. Simply say “Alexa ask Uber for a ride”. There is an option to choose a different car type, you can say things like “Alexa, ask Uber to order an Uber Black”. You can also change your default pickup location, ask for a ride status, or cancel your ride. Switch between your Amazon Household profiles to request a ride from different Uber accounts. On last thing, get ridin’…

Capital One

Capital One Alexa Skill

Capital One will help you manage your credit card, checking, savings, auto and home loan accounts. Available new features to try out are: “How much did I spend?” to get quick answers on how much and where you are spending. Once you’ve enabled the skill, say “Alexa ask Capital One…”“What’s my current credit card balance?” “What are my recent transactions?” “When is my next mortgage payment due?”. Quick and easy way to be on top of your finances for sure…

Guitar Tuner

Guitar Tunner Alexa Skill

Tune your guitar by listening to one or all of the notes on a 6 string guitar with Guitar Tuner. You can ask guitar tuner to play an individual note to tune a specific string “Alexa, ask guitar tuner to to tune note A” or “Alexa, ask guitar tuner to tune all”. You can also ask to  play all to hear a sample of all the strings on a guitar in standard tuning. When tuning all, guitar tuner starts with the low E, repeating the note a few times before moving onto the next string. Let’s hear some sweet, sweet music…

Fitbit

Fitbit Alexa Skill

Fitbit helps you Keep up with your fitness goals by checking with Alexa. Monitor your progress and get motivated as you get on with your day by checking in on your daily Fitbit progress “Alexa, ask Fitbit how I’m doing today”. You can also ask Alexa if you hit your sleep goal “Alexa, ask Fitbit how I slept last night”“… how I did yesterday”, or just get a quick update on the stats you care about the most. Switch between your Amazon Household profiles to access data from multiple Fitbit accounts.

Blue Link

Blue Link Alexa Skill

The Hyundai Blue Link Skill allows Hyundai vehicle owners the ability to Remote Start, set the desired interior cabin temperature, Remote Lock/Unlock, Remote Start Charge/Stop Charge, Remote Horn & Lights and more using Alexa. You can ask “Alexa, tell Blue Link to start my Sonata and set the temperature to 72 degrees” or “Alexa, tell Blue Link to lock my Sonata”. This a true skill of the future…

Dr. AI

Dr. AI Alexa Skill

Dr. AI is a personal Artificial & Emotional intelligence-powered “physician”. Dr. AI engages with you in an empathetic conversation about your symptoms and overall health. Powered allegedly by the most advanced Artificial Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence, and Deep Learning techniques, it  immediately translates your symptoms into possible medical explanations that are personalised to your age, gender, possible conditions, medications, and other relevant aspects of your health and well being. Dr. AI then gives you appropriate doctor-recommended insights as well as the best possible courses of action you can take on the road to feeling good. After sharing your symptoms, if you wish, you can even talk with a real doctor. Dr. AI is the whole package…

What To Expect

What to Expect Alexa SkillWhat To Expect  guides you through pregnancy day-by-day and week-by-week. Just ask Alexa What To Expect every day or “Alexa, ask What to Expect for my daily tip” and you’ll get exciting updates about your pregnancy or newborn, plus all-new, useful tips to feel prepared and in control – helping you achieve a happy, healthy pregnancy and  the first year after your baby’s birth.  In other words every future mum’s best friend…

SmartThings

SmartThings Alexa Skill

With the SmartThings skill for Alexa, you can now control a wide range of connected lights, switches, dimmers, outlets, thermostats, and door locks with your voice. You can control smart devices from companies such as Philips Hue, LIFX, OSRAM Lightify, Cree, GE, and Leviton by asking “Alexa, turn on the Bedroom light” or connected door locks from Yale, Schlage, and Kwikset by asking “Alexa, lock the Front Door”. This is the skills that brings all your SmartThings together… 

Smart Devices, Privacy and Consumer Skepticism

Smart devices at home

Smart devices are undoubtedly the next big thing. With expected $20.8bn IoT connected devices by 2020 the future market predictions are ever promising but for some, just preposterous.

The future might look bright ahead but, what is the reality of today’s market? What is the consumer’s perception of these shiny IoT smart devices that want to make their way into their homes?

The answer is that we are far from the glitzy predictions and diffusion will prove more difficult that what it seems. The fascination for this smart devices is undeniable but many are still reluctant to actually purchase. The barriers to purchase are identifiable as the most common but nonetheless obstacles to innovation.

Obstacles to Innovation with Smart Devices

Skepticism :Will  this device do what it says on the package? Can I really just ask Alexa to order me a pair of trousers to receive them the day after?

Let’s take Alexa’s example, with over 10,000 skills to choose from the typical consumer behaviour will be adding few and trial after trial, will miserably fail at getting any real answers from Alexa. Finally, will come to the conclusion that it can always be useful as a fancy voice controlled stopwatch that will prevent the roast from burning in the oven.

Security and Privacy : Just how much we value our privacy and security asPrivacy wallpaper individuals in our homes? How do we like to know that some creepy hacker or a CIA agent might be listening to our conversations?

These devices like Google Home with voice controlled assistant are always listening. I think any Google Home or even Google phone owner can say to have been interrupted at least once by Google assistant with of course, no mention of the keyword.

Connected products price chartPrice : How affordable or should we say, expensive are these devices?

In early stages of development, the market is full of pricey devices and most people think it’s a lot of money to spend on gadgets. Innovation enthusiasts will always be found in youngest bracket within the society, but will also be the ones with less disposable income.Alphabet, Nest smart thermostat company , recognised this as an important issue and is expected to release later this year a much cheaper version of the already popular smart thermostat.

Infrastructure: How fast and reliable my internet connection has to be to support these devices?To backup such huge growth expectations there is a need to invest in such infrastructures. Better internet connection everywhere will mean wider market opportunities for IoT companies.

Conclusion

Consumers are definitely hard to please when trying to sell something that they are not accustomed to. It will always prove challenging and this is not new, so much so that Roger’s thought to make a theory that would describe dynamics between innovation and scale of its adoption by consumer.

Cujo - smart firewall device
Cujo – new smart firewall device

One thing is for sure that IoT manufactures should take these concerns very seriously if they want to see sales grow. For instance, security and privacy are areas most talked about and  cause of most worries for existing and potential new customers. Surely, the way forward and to solve such problem would be to focus on embedded firmware security for these smart devices. In some cases IoT devices can also be the answer. Products like Cujo, a new smart firewall device that has just come to the market, attempts to fill the gap to make our Smart Home feel safer from hackers.

Price is also another area on which manufactures should start focusing. More affordable smart devices will mean greater market potential, on a scale that could make also the skeptics buy into these products and the most enthusiastic money-less youngsters. Needless to say the benefits brought by even one of these smart device in your home outdoes all the possible doubts. It could be about getting as far as convincing the tougher consumers into buying the first smart device to open them to the infinite possibilities that IoT at Home can bring.

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What Kind of IoT Adopter Type are you?

What Kind of IoT Adopter Type are you?

In Rogers “ Diffusion of Innovation” Model, 5 adopter types are identified : Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggards.

IoT and its groundbreaking devices are set to be the next step to the future of automation. Consumers recognise in innovations, such as IoT devices,  many benefits but there are different social patterns and timescales of adoptions within consumers.

Can you recognise yourself as an “Innovator”? or Would you say you are between the “Late Majority”?

rogers-adopter-types

Innovators Innovators are risk seekers with the highest social status and  financial liquidity, have closest contact to scientific sources and interaction with other innovators. Their attitude towards risk allows them to adopt technologies that may ultimately fail. Financial resources will make up for these failures.
Early adopters These individuals present the highest degree of opinion leadership among the adopter categories. Early adopters have a higher social status, financial liquidity, advanced education and are more socially forward but still more cautious in adoption choices than innovators. They are in a central communication position and use judicious choice of adoption to help them maintain their status.
Early Majority It will take them significantly longer than the innovators and early adopters in adopting innovation. Early Majority have above average in social status and are in contact with early adopters which allows them to hold positions of opinion leadership in their social context.
Late Majority They adopt an innovation after the average participant. These individuals approach an innovation with a high degree of skepticism and after the majority of society has adopted the innovation. Late Majority are typically skeptical about an innovation, have below average social status, little financial liquidity, in contact with others in late majority and early majority and little opinion leadership.
Laggards They are the last to adopt an innovation. Unlike some of the previous categories, individuals in this category show little to no opinion leadership. These individuals typically have an aversion to change-agents. Laggards typically tend to be focused on “traditions“, lowest social status, lowest financial liquidity, oldest among adopters, and in contact with only family and close friends.