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Got an Alexa Echo? Here are 9 things to do to get ready for the ultimate smart home.

By 10th Jul 2017 20 Comments

It’s no lie that with fibre connectivity, we are able to connect more devices in our home than ever before. With the boom in connectivity, companies such as Amazon and Google have created products that fit seamlessly with these new home networks such as the Alexa Echo. Got yourself an Alexa for your home? Here are 9 things you should do to make it work for you.

Connect your tunes

The primary purpose of the Alexa is that it is a speaker, so, obviously, the first thing you should do is connect your music. The Echo supports 5 streaming services: Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.

If you have an Amazon account, your music should be automatically connected. To connect other services, just open the app on your smartphone.

Listen to the news

While we can access news via multiple channels, we don’t always have the time. It’s better to listen to the news while you are driving or doing something. Since inception, the Echo supports news sources such as Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, AP, Slate and The Daily Show. Add the news sources you want and then say “Alexa, what’s the news?”.

Connect your smart home

The coolest thing to do with Alexa is to connect your smart home, and chances are is that is actually what you purchased it for.

Alexa integrates with Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, WeMo, Nest, Ecobee, Insteon and TP-Link smart home gadgets. Then it’s just “Alexa, Lights Off!”

If you are feeling a little adventurous and want to connect your TV etc to Alexa, you can get a Logitech Harmony Hub and connect it up. You need to be a little tech savvy, so if you don’t think you can do it, contact us.

Get fit

If you have a FitBit, Alexa can help you track your fitness goals. Alexa will be able to tell you all sorts of fitness stats including steps taken, distance covered, etc. Fitbit has a full list of all the voice commands you can use with Alexa.

Order Pizza

We are not sure if you can do this in South Africa yet, but it’s worth a try. All you need to do is connect your pizza account and say “Alexa, ask Pizza Hut to place an order”. If this works for you as a South Africa, let us know in the comments!

Book an Uber

What’s great about Alexa is that it’s a personal assistant for your home. Activate your Uber on Alexa and you can use your phone for important things such as phone calls.

Activate Uber and say “Alexa, book an Uber”

Shop online

Shop often from Amazon? Making it simpler may seem like a bad idea, but this is just one more step into modern convenience.

You need to have Amazon Prime’s one click shopping set up, you’ll be able to surf through 1000’s of items. You won’t see the product description, but if you know what you want or purchased something before, it’s perfect.

Test your general knowledge

Test your trivia knowledge with friends in a wide range of categories ranging from sports to travel to world history. Once you’ve enabled the Jeopardy J6 Skill, starting a game is easy, just say “Alexa, play Jeopardy”.

Give Alexa a friend

This article was inspired by Mashable.com

Join the discussion 20 Comments

  • Michele vd Spuy says:

    I recently purchases the Amazon Echi here in S.A. how do I set up to play Spotify?

    • Dial a Nerd says:

      Hi Michele,

      You must already have a Spotify account. If you do follow the following steps:
      1.Set up your Alexa device using the Amazon Alexa App.
      2.Go to Settings, then Music & Media and link your Spotify account.
      3.Tap Choose default music services and select Spotify.

      • John says:

        Good Afternoon, I have an Alexa and a Spotify account but the Spotify option stays “greyed” out so I cannot get the two connected.
        This is only challenge number one, I also have Sonos and Spotify will not allow me to connect to any of my players?
        Any advice?

  • Grant Wright says:

    Hi, I purchased the Echo Dot in the UK, will this unit work in SA?

  • Richard says:

    I have just received my Amazon Alexa, but the app can only be found in the USA app store, how do I get the app in South Africa?

  • Shanna says:

    Is there an Amazon Alexa app for South Africa yet? We are really struggling with this.

  • EricR says:

    The App can only be downloaded from the US App store. You can still access the Echo or Echo Show through the website https://alexa.amazon.com, however you have to have a amazon account to use. If I am not mistaken you can create an amazon account in SA

    Location of your Echo does not allow you to set the region for anywhere in South Africa, so Alexa cannot give you weather, traffic or local reports, you have to ask Alexa very specific Alexa, what is the current weather in Johannesburg South Africa, and then she can give this. Her cities are limited in South Africa, but major cities she can report on.

    Streaming music again can only be done if you have a Amazon Prime account and not sure if this is available in South Africa to create.
    Spotify also can only have an Europe/America Prime account to be able to stream in SA. This account can only be created in one of the latter countries and needs if not mistaken a Credit Card to pay the premium.
    Apple does not work with Alexa as it is direct competition

  • Colleen says:

    When will we be able to register in Africa. It’s really frustrating that we cannot use Alexa to her full extent! I bought mine for my daughter to use for school projects and music and to make calls but doesn’t work like i thought. Please help to set my Echo show up to its maximum. We are in Lusaka Zambia.
    Thank you.

    • Dial a Nerd says:

      Hi Colleen,

      The main problem is that Amazon hasn’t worked on the infrastructure to expand support in other countries outside the US. However, they are working on it and eventually will be able to support countries in Africa. Regarding when, we are unsure.

  • Adriaan says:

    Had to connect my alexa through the US and can only use limited. When will alexa app reach South Africa

  • MattDN says:

    Hey team,

    Just so you know, the recent update to the Alexa site lets you specify a home address in SA from the drop down list. I set a Cape Town address and it now lets me get weather and commute without having to specify my location. So saying “what’s the weather” gives me local weather. One thing though, neither the Pizza Hut nor Domino’s skills work here though since the skill doesn’t “see” the account you’ve created with either pizza place from the SA portal. It’s a pity, but the rest works fine. Spotify is amazing but it requires Premium and you need to have a US / UK / NL account as well as a payment method in those countries.

    • Gary says:

      What site did you use?
      I have tried logging on and Downloading plenty of different versions of this and am still battling to log in.

  • Anuschka says:

    Can I only get the Alexa setup if I have the Amazon app using a US account? What is the downside of this US account? Will it be applicable to anything I might use Alexa for in SA. Such as time, ordering, booking something?

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