Have an Amazon Echo? 5 smart routines to use with Alexa

Smart homes are no longer reserved for the wealthy and super tech-savvy. Anyone with a modest budget and some basic know-how can start automating various tasks around the house.

From lighting to security to entertainment, a smart home complements your everyday tasks and can enhance your living experience. Tap or click here for our guide on building a smart home on any budget.

A virtual assistant makes a solid smart home foundation. You can control other smart devices, ask questions, do research, set reminders, play music, and more. New features are constantly being added by developers so there is always more to do. If you have an Amazon Echo, or are considering one, let’s jump into one of the best things you can do with it: Set up easy routines to make life easier.

getting started with a routine
You can ask Alexa to tell you a joke or give you the weather forecast for the weekend. Ask him to play you a song or dim the lights. While Alexa can complete tasks and answer questions correctly, you can take things to the next level with skills.

Skills are like smartphone apps that let you do more with Alexa. You can use them to order food, play games, shop, get recipe ideas, and countless other tasks. There are thousands of skills available in the Skill Store, with new skills being added all the time. Tap or click here for some useful skills and commands.

A quick privacy note: Only a small percentage of Alexa skills have privacy policies in place. Before you enable one, we suggest you do a little digging. Tap or click here for more information.

String a few commands and/or skills together and you have routines. These shortcuts save you time and automate Alexa’s more complex actions.

Set up a routine by opening the Alexa app and tapping the hamburger navigation button in the lower-right corner. To open a new Routines tab, tap Routines, then tap the plus icon. Choose when this happens and follow the steps to start the routine. Then select Add Action and follow the steps to choose what happens. Finally tap on Save.

Here are some suggested routines for you to try.

1. wake up
Alarm clocks are old news. Why not wake up to your favorite playlist? A routine can even turn on your smart light bulb so you don’t feel sleepy again.

Having trouble accessing Alexa? Tap or click here for tips on getting your smart assistant to understand you better.

2. What’s on the agenda?
The old routine (pardon the pun) of turning on the news and checking your calendar can now be automated through Alexa. Set up a routine where your voice command gives you news headlines, weather forecasts and traffic reports for your morning commute. While you’re at it, let Alexa tell you what’s coming up that day, whether it’s a birthday or an important meeting at work.

3. Departure for the day
Whether you leave for the day or for the week, peace of mind with regards to the security of your home is invaluable. Alexa Guard is a feature on the Echo device that acts as a virtual house sitter. It can hear unusual sounds, such as breaking glass, and alert you when this happens. It can send you a clip of the sound so you can take action, such as calling the police.

The Guard can also connect to your smart lighting to make it appear that someone is at home. It can even turn on the TV to provide the same illusion.

While Alexa Guard is better than nothing, we recommend a complete security system. Kim’s choice is SimplySafe, the sponsor of her national radio show. Getting started is easy. Pick out all the components you need online, have it shipped directly to your home, and set it up yourself in about 30 minutes. Get a free HD security camera when you use Kim K’s Link.

4. Homecoming
Alexa can also serve as a welcome home committee. It can be proximity-based, so you don’t need to say a word. When Alexa detects that your smartphone is back home, it can turn on the lights, play some tunes, and set the thermostat to your desired temperature. She may welcome you home herself or announce your return in Echo units throughout the house.

Smart assistants and speakers are great for home automation, but don’t neglect the rest of your home. Tap or click here for five things to do around the house before summer arrives.

5. Movie Mode
Ready for a cozy night out? Activate “Movie Mode” to dim the lights in your living room, turn off smart blinds, turn on the TV, and turn on your streaming devices, soundbars, and any other gadgets you use to chill .

With a little imagination and a handful of connected devices, your Echo is capable of a lot. Try these routines out and let us know what you think!

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