Amazon Echo


(Saveen) #1

With Amazon shipping Echo in the UK next week (Estimated arrival date: September 28 2016), I thought it might be useful to set up a dedicated thread.

  • Has anyone in the community ordered Echo? Would love to hear your thoughts!

  • @simon - following on from our conversation in February, is there a planned launch date for a Monzo skill?


(Adam Hockley) #2

Looks amazing I saw video I wouldn’t mind one them :frowning:


(Saveen) #3

Yep, pretty handy! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


(Saveen) #4

You can try Alexa (in a browser that supports WebRTC for microphone input* ) here:

https://echosim.io/

*Chrome (in Android , Linux, OSX and Windows environments), Firefox, or Opera.


(Kevyn) #5

I’ve had an Amazon Echo in the UK since they came out in the USA. Had to switch on a lot of Amazon US features to get it to work better for me. Then found out how to tweak it to work with a UK postal address which made location services a little better.

Overall I feel it is very good idea and I use it all the time. it is definitely the future but being tied to Amazon and a few other companies will be its limitation. I may try Google’s attempt when that is released to see if there is more compatibility. Either way, I can’t wait until next week when I can finally use UK Amazon services (audiobooks etc I dont buy on the US store) and use it to its full potential. Just wish I could make it turn on by saying ‘computer’ …


(Saveen) #6

Great to hear your thoughts about Echo, Kevyn. Which services do you find you use the most?

There’s a preview of UK oriented skills here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/b?node=11242734031

Also, a handy list of tips here:

Yeah, Google Home https://home.google.com/ is also one to watch (announcement on 4th October I think).

There’s some pressure on Amazon to offer custom wake words beyond Alexa, Echo, Amazon so your wish might be Echo’s command!


(Saveen) #7

Apple’s Siri-based Echo rival has reportedly begun prototype testing

Siri vs. Alexa will be one of the grand battles of our near future

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-23/apple-said-to-step-up-plans-for-echo-style-smart-home-device-itfnod11


(Lloyd Watkin) #8

Yes, two :slight_smile:

We had some at IMDb’s offices in Bristol and had a hackathon with them.

Looking forward to it arriving.

I guess with monzo’s APIS we’ll be able to write our own skills!


(Saveen) #9

Fantastic! Is there a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon skill? :smiley:

2 days to go!

Capital One is the first company to integrate any sort of financial services with Alexa:

About this Skill

Description
Have a Capital One credit card, checking, or savings account—or even better, all three? Then take this skill for a spin. If you have an auto or home loan with us, you can now ask about those, too.

Once you’ve enabled the skill, say “Alexa ask Capital One…”

For your credit card:
· “What’s my current credit card balance?”
· “When is my credit card bill due?”
· “To pay my credit card bill.”

For your bank accounts:
· “What’s my checking account balance?”
· “What are my recent transactions?”

For your auto loan:
· “What’s my car loan principal balance?”
· “What’s my payoff quote?”
· “When is my car loan due?”

For your home loan:
· “What’s the principal balance on my mortgage?”
· “When is my next mortgage payment due?”
· “How much is my next mortgage payment?”

Heads-up, to get started, you’ll sign in with your Capital One username and password (which we keep completely private) and create a personal key for extra security.

And if you want more from us, that’s great! Because we’re building new features even as you read this. But in the meantime, check out www.CapitalOne.com/Alexa for more info.


( surohpotsirhC) #10

I would get one just for a Six Degrees skill.


(JoeO) #11

Tried one over Skype at a friends place in the US (I was in the UK the Echo was placed near his computer and I tried commands over the Skype connection).
I was really impressed by the accuracy of the voice recognition and by the speed.

When I heard they were soon to be available in the UK I ordered one instantly but then reality set in and I cancelled my order. Although it would have been fun I realised that I probably would end up not using it very much (rather like Siri on my iPhone).

I still think it is a great piece of technology though.


(Saveen) #12

Your transatlantic trial is actually amazing when you think about all the processes involved from spoken word to reply received, and all of this happens with low latency. We’ve come a long way since 1927!

Echo currently has a couple of distinct advantages over Siri that should make it more useful.

  • Fixed device and always listening means less friction.

  • Open to third party developers creates more use cases eg. controlling music via Spotify, home automation, IFTTT etc.


(Phil W) #13

I’ve got an Echo Dot on pre-order and am also looking forward to the Google Home announcement on 4th October. I might end up cancelling my Echo order as I think Google’s assistant will be more useful to me than Alexa (as long as the Google Home API is open and supports my Hue lights and a few other big services that Alexa covers).


#14

I ordered my Echo as I got the prime discount. I haven’t opened the box yet as I’m waiting to see what google show on the 4th. After that I’ll decide whether to keep the echo or return it and get the Google Home.


(Saveen) #15

It’s also worth keeping an eye on Apple which has a history of not being first to market but dominating when it does (Apple Watch accounted for more than 50% of global smart watch shipments last year). If rumours are correct, the company is working on an Echo-like speaker that includes cameras and can recognise who’s in a room. Time will tell!

Either way, hats off to Amazon for catalysing progress towards HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey (except the part where HAL tries to kill everyone :flushed:).

An interesting outcome of all of this is that paid search advertising revenue could be at risk of substitution from paid attention advertising and attention markets and this has exposed a vulnerability for Google.


#16

“except the part where HAL tries to kill everyone”…that is an optional additional module for the drones they are currently trialling :joy:


(Saveen) #17

Apple’s optional upgrades have always been compelling :smile:


(Martin) #18

My Amazon Echo arrived on 27th and so far I love it. Although I have a BTHomeHub, I was fortunate enough not to have ny problems pairing the Echo over Wi-Fi. I completed et-up in just a few minutes.
If you are a BT Broadband customer and encounter problems see http://www.techradar.com/how-to/internet/how-to-get-amazon-echo-to-work-with-bt-home-hub-1329602 (at the time of posting this message, the TechRadar article quotes an incorrect default IP for the BT Hub GUI. It should read 192.168.1.254 instead of 182…)


( surohpotsirhC) #19

My biggest issue with the home hub is that it’s absolutely rubbish and is connects/disconnects at least 10 times a day. Trying to convince BT that this is a software issue is like headbutting a brick wall. There’s a newer firmware for the hub 5 than is on mine but they don’t believe mine doesn’t have it.


(JoeO) #20

Slightly off topic I know but @Christophorus I am with you. My home hub seems to disconnect randomly but I have given up calling them to complain.