Amazon’s lineup of Alexa-enabled Echo devices are supposed to simulate having a personal assistant in your home, but what happens when you’re sharing a device with family members and friends?
Luckily, Alexa has a special skill that makes the user experience a little more personalized: voice recognition. You can train Alexa to recognize the sound of your voice, allowing you to receive personalized info whenever you interact with a compatible device. In fact, every member of your family — and even frequent visitors — can create a voice profile for more customized interactions. The Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Spot, and Echo Show all have the voice recognition feature.
Here’s how to go about setting up a voice profile on your Alexa-enabled device.
Step 1: Open the Alexa App
Open up the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet. Go to the menu page and tap on “Settings,” “Accounts,” and then “Your Voice.” Hit “Begin” to start the process of training Alexa to learn your voice. Alexa can also guide you through the steps verbally. Simply say, “Alexa, learn my voice,” and the device will proceed to give you instructions on how to create a voice profile.
Step 2: Select a device
If you’re using the Alexa app a voice profile, use the drop-down menu to select which device you want to use to help Alexa learn your voice. If you have more than one Echo device in the house, it’s advisable to temporarily turn the microphones of the other devices off while you interact with the selected device. To turn off the microphone, simply press the “Microphone Off” button on the device. Keep in mind that once you use a device to create a voice profile, the other Echo devices in your home should also automatically be able to respond to your voice as well.
Step 3: Follow the prompts
The app will proceed to give you a series of prompts that you’ll need to say out loud in order for Alexa to learn your voice. Follow the directions on the screen, and speak the phrases as they show up. Stumble over your words? You always have the option of repeating a phrase again, by simply tapping “Try Again.” Once you’re done, tap on “Complete.” A confirmation will pop up on your screen, and Alexa will tell you “good job.” What an encouraging IoT buddy.
To ensure successful creation of your new voice profile, there are some tips you can follow. When speaking the prompted phrases, try to sit or stand in a place where you would normally speak to your Echo device — for example, the dining table or living room sofa. Try to ensure there isn’t a lot of background noise, and keep the Alexa device you’re interacting with at least eight inches away from the walls. Then, simply speak to Alexa as you normally would.
Step 4: Set Up Amazon Music
If you’re subscribed to the Amazon Music Unlimited Family Plan, you’ll see a screen pop up at the very end of the profile creation process. It will ask you whether you want to link your voice profile to the Amazon Music Unlimited account. All you have to do is sign in on the screen and enter the information associated with the account. That way, whenever you request Alexa to play music, the device can play music that’s curated to the speaker’s tastes.
Step 5: Testing — Ask Alexa who you are
Once the process is complete, you can verify that Alexa has learned your voice by asking Alexa, “Who am I?” If Alexa is able to tell who you are, it will respond by saying, “I’m talking to (your name).” Note that Alexa takes about 15 to 20 minutes to learn your voice after you’ve completed the set-up process, so if the device doesn’t recognize your voice right away, try again a little later.
Is Alexa not pronouncing your name correctly? You can send feedback within the Alexa app. On the menu page, tap on “Help & Feedback,” then choose “Send Feedback.” Scroll through the drop-down menus to select the device and issue, then use the text box to write the complaint.
Step 6: Add more users
Do your family members or friends also want a personalized experience? You can create individualized voice profiles. New users can get started by downloading the Alexa app to their smartphones and signing into the Amazon account used to register the Echo devices.
Step 7: Start asking Alexa questions
Once everyone in your home has created a unique voice profile, they’ll be able to use their voices to call and message people on their own unique contact lists. You’ll also get a curated listening experience when you request music, receive commute times that are specific to your workplace, and hear news briefings from the exact sources that you’ve selected. This way, everyone in the family will be able to experience more personalized interactions with Amazon Alexa.
If someone else in your family has a very similar voice as you, it’s possible Alexa will occasionally mistake your voice for someone else’s. If this happens, you can always say “Stop” or “Cancel” to avoid accessing your family member’s content.
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