Most of us spend a lot of time in our homes, connecting with loved ones through shared meals or phone calls, relaxing and watching TV, or getting things done around the house. Alexa can make all of those activities simpler and more fun.
Learn how two Amazon customers, Kevin and Chris are using Alexa to innovate new ways to make their families’ lives easier and their homes smarter.
How has your life changed since you started adding smart technology into your home?
Kevin: We’ve been living in our smart home for years now, and Alexa has totally changed our lifestyles. Interacting with Alexa has very much become second nature. Sometimes when we go on vacation, in the hotel, we reflexively try to speak to Alexa and are surprised when we have to walk over to the light switch. Having to do things manually feels kind of awkward these days. We have Echo devices in every room—there is an Echo Dot in every bathroom, Echo Show devices in every bedroom, Echo Auto in the car, plus about 150 other devices connected via smart plugs. One of the things we use Alexa for most frequently is to create and share shopping lists. In a large family like ours, there are always groceries to buy, and Alexa helps us keep them sorted. We wanted to be able to create one big, accessible list, no matter where we were, so whoever is at the store can pick the right things up. But beyond that, we use Alexa for so many things—to announce when it’s time for dinner, to check in on our Ring doorbells, to send messages to one another.
Chris: It’s become really natural to interact with Alexa all the time. It’s an instinctive part of our family’s daily lives now, and it’s the little things that mean the most for me. Using Alexa to control the lights in the house seems like a small job, but it’s been so incredibly useful, as has having the power to control the TV with my voice—asking Alexa to turn the volume up or to play a specific show. It likely doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but I still get joy from it every time it happens. I also love the way Alexa allows me to play music throughout the house. When it’s all bundled together, those little things add up to make life so much easier.
How did you get started with smart home technology?
Kevin: Six years ago, we had a house fire and lost everything. When the time came to build a new home, my wife and I decided to make Alexa the center of our smart home. At the time of the fire, we were using a number of manual ways to store our photos, and afterward we thought a lot about how we could find a way to safely store those precious memories so we’d always have them. Amazon Photos was kind of the catalyst, because we knew having unlimited, digital storage was priceless. From there, it only made sense to make Alexa part of our new home.
Chris: I’ve always been curious about technology. I love experimenting with it. Originally, I helped test the Blink cameras way back when they were a Kickstarter project. Over time, it made sense to add even more technology into my home. Now we’ve got a whole host of devices: multiple Echo Dot devices, an Echo Show, Fire TV sticks, and smart light bulbs, which have made my family’s daily routine much easier.
What is your favorite thing about your current smart home setup?
Kevin: One of my favorite things is the peace of mind I get from Alexa’s safety features. One of my daughters is in college and lives in our finished basement. Because of that, we sometimes miss her coming home, and of course, we worry about her. We have an Alexa-enabled garage sensor, so I can check whether she’s come home, and if we want to check in on each other, we can drop in on her via the Echo Show devices throughout the house. When she was in high school, we would use the Echo Show to make sure she’d woken up before school, but now it just gives us peace of mind that she’s at home and safe. My wife and I recently welcomed another daughter, and she will grow up with Alexa as part of her life. Sometimes we think that, given how often she will hear it, Alexa could be her first word.
Chris: Alexa has helped me solve the simplest of problems in my life. My dogs sometimes need to go out in the middle of the night. Previously, if I didn’t hear them barking overnight, I’d always wake up to morning surprises. I wanted to find a way to be notified and woken up if my dogs were barking—Alexa was the perfect solution. Now if the dogs are barking, asking to be let out, I’ll get a notification from Alexa that goes straight to my smartwatch, so I’ll wake up and go let them into the yard.
If you have a story of your own about how you use Alexa, we'd love to hear it, and we will continue sharing some of our favorite #AlexaStories. You can email us or tag us on Twitter or Instagram @alexa99 or #AlexaStories. Additionally, to learn more about how Alexa is helping people in different ways, you can watch Alexa Stories videos.