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Yes. Amazon’s official answer is the Echo Line of products is only activated using one of four wake words: Alexa, Echo, Computer or Amazon. There have been several reports of these devices transcribing conversations and even texting co-workers without knowledge or consent. Alexa is listening to conversations and commands, but that is proving to be an asset to consumers.

There are more than 30,000 skills (similar to an app) written for the  Amazon Echo. Users control their lights, thermostat, music, bank accounts and more with Echo Dots, Shows and Spots. The new Amazon Fire Cube controls the television, receiver, most cable boxes and other audio equipment. Amazon’s voice control in the home is just getting started. Here are 5 skills to help professionally and personally.

Here’s What People Are Asking Alexa

  • Automatic – Alexa is listening to your car. The skills is free, but the device costs about $139. The information it provides is extremely valuable – professionally and personally. Plug the Automatic device into your car for real-time stats of vehicle location, fuel consumption, distance driven and repair information BEFORE it happens. Parents can use this to monitor teenagers while they are driving. Business owners can monitor the location and speed of company vehicles. Feature: ask Alexa for these data and she tells you!
  • CNBC – Alexa is listening to the news and telling you about it. Download the skill and add it to your flash briefing. Ask your Echo device to tell you the news while you are getting dressed and putting on make up. Try saying things like, “Alexa, ask CNBC for the latest news” to listen to the headlines; “Alexa, ask CNBC what Amazon is trading at?” Financial information is just a voice away.
  • Find My Phone – Alexa is listening to the last known location of your phone. Set it up and link it to your Trackr account (used with the small bluetooth devices that track keys, remotes, etc.). It will find the phone (based on the last known location) or call it. It works for iOS and Android devices.

Growing Up Amazon

  • Lyft / UBER – Alexa is listening to your transportation needs. Link UBER and Lyft to your Echo account and ask for a ride. This skill is great for aging adults. Seniors can use their current location to request rides to church, book clubs, medical appointments, movies and more. Hands free and voice activated requests makes travel even easier. Business travelers use Dots, Spots and Shows to request rides to the nearest airport.
  • TED Talks – Alexa is listening and trying to make people smarter. Use this skill to listen to your favorite TED Talks. Explore the vast library of inspiring talks and ideas worth sharing and inspiring by world renowned speakers and thought leaders. New TED Talks are available every weekday, and they are free. It lacks the video, but it allows users to listen while they clean the house,

Voice is a natural way of communicating. The Amazon Echo devices making it easy to get and share information. Skills are enabled in the same way apps are downloaded. Alexa is listening, and that s an asset to the users. As with the app universe, the only challenge is knowing which ones are right for you.

Scientifically Speaking, of course…

Contact a SciSpeak Ambassador for information on how technology is changing your industry.