Wi-Fi smart speakers with built in virtual assistants are one of the most popular smart home devices. It’s estimated that over 20 percent of households in the United States have a smart speaker. Popular brands include Amazon and Google. Amazon’s lineup includes the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Tap models and features a virtual assistant referred to as Alexa. Google’s smart speaker is called the Google Home and features the Google Assistant.
Smart speakers are programmed with thousands of apps and skills designed to make your life easier and more connected. They can be used to perform many common tasks around the house:
- Play music
- Set reminders or make lists
- Give information such as weather conditions, stock updates, or sports scores
- Send and receive messages from your phone
- Control other smart home devices such as lights, security systems, thermostats, televisions or kitchen appliances
There are also many less commonly used features of your smart speaker that you likely don’t know about. With Amazon’s most recent skill count reaching over 30,000, it’s not so much that these features are “hidden” as it is that you just can’t possibly know everything your virtual assistant is capable of. Use this list to try some new features you may not have explored yet:
- Order takeout: If you have app accounts set up, Alexa or Google can order you pizza from either Dominos or Pizza Hut. You can also do reorders from a variety of food delivery services such as GrubHub or Amazon Restaurants. Some restaurants such as Starbucks and Panera have developed smart speaker integration as well.
- Suggest food: Maybe you’re not in the mood for takeout, but you don’t know what you’re in the mood for. Ask Alexa “what’s for dinner” or ask Google for nearby restaurants to get some inspiration. You can also use your smart speaker to help you prepare meals by walking you through step by step instructions of recipes.
- Keep you on track: In addition to suggesting you eat something, your virtual assistant can also do the opposite. If you’re on a diet and need some help sticking to it, ask Alexa to “talk me down” when you’re tempted by something off-limits in the kitchen. Alexa will respond with one of several motivational quips such as “don’t give in to weakness.” Google Assistant has a similar action called “fire me up” you can use for motivation to reach your goals.
- Help with homework: Your virtual assistant can solve basic math problems for you and with powerful search features can also look up all sorts of facts and trivia. Next time your child asks whether a weasel is a mammal or not, pass off the question to your smart speaker. You may find yourself learning new things all day long.
Protect Your Smart Home With Insurance
Due in part to the life-changing connectivity your virtual assistant provides, your smart home is likely your most valuable asset. Make sure your home is covered by an adequate insurance policy. Unfortunately, “Alexa, shop for homeowners insurance” isn’t a supported feature – yet. BOLT Insurance can do the shopping around for you and get you best deal on many types of insurance. Get a quote today.