Regardless of whether you own an Amazon device, you've probably heard the name "Alexa." If you have a question, name it – if you have an Amazon Echo device or Alexa-enabled speakers. Amazon's virtual assistant is a female voice speaking to you in a conversational manner, ready to help you with many things. It has been integrated into several of the company's products and is increasingly used in third-party devices such as GE lamps and Sonos One speakers. Alexa can perform a variety of simple tasks, such as music, but it can also be used to control smart home gadgets that make it possible to dim the lights, lock the doors, or adjust the thermostat.
While "Alexa" became synonymous with products like the Amazon Echo and was an important selling point for devices like the Amazon Fire TV. You can not really go out and buy an "Alexa". You need a device on which the voice is built in. So, what is Alexa exactly? Here's what you need to know about Amazon's virtual assistant
Who / what is Alexa?
For most people, you really have to know everything about Alexa is that it's the name of the voice coming from Alexa-capable speakers. Basically, Alexa for Amazon is what "Siri" is for Apple. Alexa is a voice you can ask questions and get answers like, "How is the weather in Chicago today?" Alexa has been integrated into many services of Amazon and can be used with products like the original Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot or Amazon Fire TV.
But really, what exactly is Alexa? When you ask Alexa a question, you communicate with a cloud-based service. Amazon has developed the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to emulate real conversations, but you're actually using intuitive voice commands to get this service to perform certain tasks. "Alexa" is simply the "wake-up word" that alerts the service that he's starting to listen to your voice. For most devices, you just have to say it to get an answer.
This is how Amazon describes the Alexa Voice Service on its developer page:
"The Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is Amazon's intelligent speech recognition and natural language understanding service that allows you to activate any connected device with microphone and speakers."  While Alexa is the official name for Amazon's voice assistant, changing this "Amazon" or "Echo" wake-up word can be a useful feature, especially if your name or the name of your partner or roommate is Alexa.
Apple has Siri. Google Home has Google Assistant, which comes alive when you say "OK, Google." And Amazon has Alexa. But why? According to David Limp, the manager of Amazon who oversaw the development of the service, the name "Alexa" was chosen for several reasons. Initially, the name "Alexa" refers to the library of Alexandria, which tried to gather all the knowledge of the world. Amazon tries to do the same. Alexa is always learning, but in theory it should be a seamless source of information.
More practically, the service was called Alexa because it contains the unusual "X" sound. Since this service is voice-activated, Amazon wanted to choose a name that should not be confused with other words that might inadvertently trigger the device:
"We've gone through a number of names and the name is important to the personality who owns it created around the persona, as this computer-based voice computer is in the cloud, but behind it is also computer science, "said Limp. "If any of you have echoes, you know that he only wakes up when he hears the word 'Alexa', and the sounds of that word and how that word is analyzed and the fact that it has a hard consonant with the & # 39; It's important to make sure it only wakes up when asked, and so a combination of these two things has allowed us to narrow down Alexa. "
Where can I Use Alexa?
To use Alexa, you need a device that integrates the voice technology. This usually means an Amazon device like Echo, Dot or Tap, but this cloud-based personal voice assistant has also been integrated into some third-party systems. Like some third-party devices, the Fire TV is compatible with Alexa: the Ecobee Switch + light switch, the LG InstaView refrigerator, and the aforementioned Sonos One speaker. Someone even programmed Alexa to work with a Big Mouth Billy Bass.
Alexa has also become the center of many smart home systems, including Wink, SmartThings, and the Logitech Harmony. You can also use the Voice Assistant to build your Smart Home bit by bit since Alexa can also be paired with devices such as WeMo switches and Nest thermostats.
Here is a list of Smart Home devices that are compatible with Alexa] amazon-tap “/>
What is Alexa?
The list of commands Alexa understands seems to grow daily. Amazon calls these "skills", and now you can even create your own abilities through Amazon Blueprints. The number of tasks that Alexa can accomplish is much more than we can list in this article, but here are some of our favorites:
Alexa now also has the ability to set up "routines" with you, with a single command that's you bet – say, "Alexa, good night" – turns off the light, locks your front door, sets an alarm for a certain time and sets your coffee pot so that it turns on at a certain time. You can learn how to set up routines in our how-to-post.
Amazon is expanding its capabilities almost daily with new capabilities and device compatibility. If you want to know more about Alexa, all you have to do is ask, "Alexa, what's new with you?" And she is happy to share it.