In the kitchen
Since your hands are busy chopping or covered in food, Alexa can be a big help in the kitchen, whether you need her to set a timer for 10 minutes or convert ounces to cups. If you’re deciding what to make for dinner and notice you’re out of coriander, you can ask Alexa to add it to your shopping list. If you’ve bought paper towels from Amazon Prime before, you can re-order them by saying, “Alexa, reorder paper towels.” Don’t worry; you can cancel the order right away, too. If your kids are ordering too many cookies, you can turn off voice ordering or require a confirmation code.
Other features are very helpful when it comes to meal preparation, as well. The Food Network skill, for example, gives you access to an extensive library of recipes. You can ask Alexa a series of questions to help decide what sounds best (or most convenient) for dinner. Simply say, “Alexa, ask Food Network for the recipes on TV right now,” or “Alexa, ask Food Network for recipes from Barefoot Contessa.”
If you own a GE Wi-Fi Connect appliance, meal prep is now even easier. The Geneva skill for Alexa allows to control these devices with your voice. Like any skill, however, you’ll need to enable it before you can reap the benefits. Simply request this by saying, “Alexa, enable Geneva skill.” You’ll then need to link your GE Wi-Fi Connect account, but once done, you’ll be able to ask Alexa an amalgam of useful questions, as well as prompt the assistant to activate various household appliances. You can say, “Alexa, tell Geneva to preheat my oven to 400 degrees,” or “Alexa, ask Geneva if my laundry is dry.”
Several other appliances recently announced that they’re featuring either Alexa integration or are Alexa compatible. For example, the LG Instaview Smart Refrigerator is a fridge with a screen and Alexa built in, meaning that you can literally ask your fridge what to make for dinner.
Alexa has other functionality, too. Let’s say, for example, you still managed to burn dinner — even with all of your digital assistant’s help. It’s OK. There’s now a skill to help you quickly order a Domino’s pizza. This skill, along with more than 15,000 others and counting, are available in the skills section of the Alexa App. You can also ask Alexa about nearby restaurants whenever you’re in a pickle.
To get the most out of your smart home devices, it’s often best to use appliances that are supported by Alexa. However, you may already own a few smart appliances that do not work with Alexa out of the box. Luckily, there is a roundabout way of pairing these appliances. If your device isn’t supported by Alexa but is supported by IFTTT, you can setup a series of triggers to establish support and functionality. IFTTT has even curated an entire catalog of command triggers specifically for Alexa. Or, you can buy a smart hub or the Echo Plus, which is an Echo with a smart hub built in, to connect your devices.