For every smart home, there is a need for a smart assistant, and Amazon Alexa tops the list. It acts as a key pillar of your smart home. Alexa can do a lot of things that are out of the box. But, Alexa is nothing without the skills. Alexa Skills are basically the apps that allow Amazon Voice Assistant to connect with hardware & software to perform certain activities. Big thanks to its open API that is expanding its list of compatible services and devices day by day.
Amazon now allows you to use the skills without wanting you to enable them fast. You simply need to ask Alexa to use a skill, and it will enable automatically when it’s done. But, not every Alexa Skill takes its advantage. It’s also worth to mention that Amazon has now made it easier to create the skills on your own with the help of Alexa Skill Blueprints, which does not require any coding experience.
Before moving further, let’s first know in detail about what Alexa can actually do.
What can Alexa do?
The very first thing you should do with a brand new speaker is to connect it with all the smart home gadgets you have in your home. Once it is done, you can ask a question to Alexa. This is basically a communication with a cloud-based service. Alexa can mimic real conversations, but we’re actually using intuitive voice commands to get Alexa to perform our various tasks. For using the Alexa, there is a need for a device that integrates the voice technology.
This device can be an Amazon device like Dot or Echo, but this voice assistant can also work with some third-party systems. Alexa is compatible with Fire TV and other third-party devices like Sonos One speaker, LG InstaView refrigerator, etc.
Alexa has become a central hub for many smart home systems, which includes Wink, Logitech Harmony, and the SmartThings. The voice-assistant can be used to build the piecemeal of your smart home because it can pair up with hubless devices like Nest Thermostats and WeMo switches. You can use Alexa to listen to music, watch the video, or for any other media purpose, calling and messaging, perform smart home functions, shopping, and more.
The list Alexa commands or tasks it can perform seems to be regularly growing. However, Amazon calls these Skills. The number of commands Alexa can execute is evidently more than that we can put in this post. But, we’re compiling the best Alexa commands of 2019.
No doubt Alexa is one of the best Smart Speakers but what about others? Here is the list of top 5 Smart Speakers in 2019.
Best Alexa Skills to Try in 2020
If you own an Amazon speaker, then you might be familiar with the fact that there are over 70,000+ Alexa skills. Looking into this huge list can be a daunting task for you. So, we have done the hard work for you and scoured the whole directory to hunt down the top Alexa Skills that you should actually try yourself.
1. Ask My Buddy
In case of any help, Ask My Buddy allows you to immediately alert all your friends or someone in your personal network that you need their help. This is useful when you’ve hurt yourself and are not able to reach the phone. Well, you’ll be glad if you set up this skill in advance.
2. 7-Minute Workout
The 7-minute workout fitness Skill by Alexa is going to surprise you. Simply say the wake word, “Alexa, start the 7-minute workout,” and the Alexa Skill will provide you with a brief fitness routine that you can do inside your home. Be it pushups, jumping jacks or squats, it will walk you through every exercise. Alexa will pause in between each exercise to wait for your next instruction.
In case, you do not have knowledge of a specific exercise; you can take the help of Alexa. The Skill will offer you the moves with a verbal description. If you are still unsure about anything, you can use the Alexa app on your phone to find the description and pictures that will help you know what to do next.
It’s a handy way for beginners to learn a few new exercises and stay motivated for everyday workouts. But, if you have a well-developed work routine, connecting with Skills such as Fitbit to ask Alexa about the number of steps you’ve finished.
However, most of the Belkin’s WeMo devices are switches; this Alexa Skill also includes smart gadgets such as security cameras. The Skill of Alexa can only control switches, but it’s still a very handy Skill. If there is a WeMo Plug, Light Switch, or Insight Switch in your home, you can switch them on and off with only a voice command.
#4. Logitech Harmony
The smart universal remotes of Logitech are very well-known for a decent reason. You don’t even need a remote with the Alexa Skill. Just ask Alexa to launch the Netflix app, turn on your TV, or turn off your whole entertainment system.
If you’ve ever lost your phone, then you might know how stressful enough to give you a panic attack. While Google and Apple have their own system to help, you find your phone if it was lost. But, if you’ve misplaced it somewhere like between the cushions, then using TrackR is the best option.
You don’t need to worry at all, get the Alexa Skill TrackR set up on your phone, and the next time you lose it, Alexa can help you find it out. To enable this Skill, you need to install TrackR from Alexa app and link account. You can use a command like, “Alexa, ask TrackR to find my Phone.” In response to this command, Alexa will provide the address of your phone if it is able to fetch its location.
You can also use the command, “Alexa, ask TrackR to ring my phone”. It will play a loud ringtone on your phone, even if your phone is on silent.
The second command is very helpful if you are at home and do not remember the place where you’ve kept it down. Things might be better if Google or Apple has developed Alexa Skills for their phones- but until they do so, it is convenient to use the TrackR. There is another Skill called Lost Things that only works on the iPhone.
#6. Ambient Noise
If you have trouble falling asleep, Ambient Noise can help. This Skill help speaker turns an ambient noise into white noise or a relaxing background noise so that you can sleep better. Like for example, if you say “stop after 1 hour”- a timer will be set instead of playing the sound continuously. To enable the skill, just simply say, “Alexa, start the ocean sounds.” You can get the white noise on Amazon Music or Spotify. But, Invoked Apps is one of the best ways to find a series of Ambient Noise skills and listen to several types of relaxing sounds.
The list of few Ambient Noise includes Heavy rain, Ocean, Waterfall, Windy leaves, Babbling Brook, Thunderstorm, Forest night, Rain on a tent, Fireplace, etc. However, Ambient Noise is only one of the sound skills that you can choose from. Because there are many other alternatives from different developers such as Brain Healing Sounds, Delta Waves, Air Conditioner Sounds, and Box Fan Sounds.
#7. Big Sky
Big Sky is one of the top-rated weather skills. Alexa holds great expertise in informing you everything about the weather. You can ask the forecast of tomorrow if the rain is going to happen today, or what’s the present temperature are pretty common questions. If you need to get more in-depth details about the weather, you can go for a Big Sky as it is a major upgrade compared to other built-in weather feature. By using the Dark Sky API, Big Sky will provide you with hourly updates as per your particular street address.
It can inform you about the dew point, barometric pressure, historical weather, the highest temperature in the coming week, and humidity. It can also provide you with notifications regarding critical weather in your area. Just ask,” Alexa, tell Big Sky for the weather in 2 hours”. To enable this skill, say, “Alexa, start Big Sky”.
Ready to Try These Top Alexa Skills?
So, here we’ve covered the top Alexa skills you should try if you are using Alexa. A number of Alexa Skills are being developed from time to time. If you are an Alexa Skill Builder, validate your skills with the AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder certification. if you are preparing for the Alexa Skill Builder certification, check your preparation level now with the AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder Specialty practice tests.
You don’t need to put extra effort into enabling particular skills, just ask the Alexa and it will let you know once done. Now, as you know the best Alexa skills to try yourself, we’d like to hear from you which Alexa Skill you loved the most. Is there any other Skill you were digging for? Just put a comment below to let us know about your favorite Alexa skills.
- CI/CD Pipelines: An Essential Development Tool - January 29, 2020
- Top 10 Tech Skills to Target in 2020 - January 26, 2020
- Java 8 Upgrade Exam Retirement - January 20, 2020
- DevOps Automation for the Secure Cloud: Vulnerability Management - January 7, 2020
- How to Prepare for Red Hat Certified Specialist Advanced Automation Ansible Best Practices Exam? - December 26, 2019