Alexa What It Is
It’s a virtual assistant that you can control with your voice. It’s her job to keep you organized, informed, safe, connected, and entertained by playing audio, controlling your smart home, and answering questions. You can also treat her like your personal shopper since she’s an Amazon product. Smart speakers and other Alexa-enabled devices can access Alexa, which is based in the cloud.
With Amazon’s AVS, you can recognize and understand natural language. Any connected device with a microphone and speaker can be voice-enabled with the service. Because of this, Alexa is starting to show up on headphones. Machine learning keeps Alexa smarter, Amazon’s developer site says.
How Can Alexa Help?
The software in Alexa acts similar to that on a smartphone, except instead of apps, she relies on skills. The Alexa app comes with many skills out of the box, and you can enable others on your own. You may recognize many of Amazon’s skills from brands you use frequently. The collection is growing every day.
Alexa can do a lot of things, including:
- Put on some music.
- Gives you the latest news.
- Weather forecasts.
- Provides regular updates on sports events.
- Streams podcasts.
- Live streaming of radio stations.
- Home automation.
- Keeps track of your lists and calendars.
- Sets alarms and timers for your tasks.
- Stream audiobooks from your computer.
- Discovers the latest business news and information in your area.
- Provides answers to the questions.
- Becomes your storyteller.
HVAC System Connect To Alexa
Cielo Breez devices can be controlled with Alexa, which executes different commands. In essence, they’re Alexa controllers for air conditioners. You can turn on and off the AC, change the heat and cool modes, and adjust the temperature. Additionally, voice commands are inquisitive, so you can ask Alexa for the temperature of the air conditioner, and the ambient temperature, or change increments. You can also ask him to turn the air conditioner on or off.
How to Set It Up With an Air Conditioner
What’s the best way to connect Alexa to an air conditioner? Enter your credentials in the Alexa app to set up Cielo Breez with Amazon Alexa. You can find Cielo Smart Home in the “Skills & Games” section of the home screen slide menu. As soon as you enter your Cielo account information, Alexa will start searching for devices connected to your Cielo account. All you have to do is sync them with Alexa.
Setup a Routine
With Alexa routines, you can do multiple things at once. Voice commands, locations, alarms, schedules, etc. can be used to set up Alexa routines. When the trigger command is activated, Breez Plus devices and certainly other connected devices will start doing their thing without any extra commands. You could, for example, set it up so that when Alexa hears the command “Alexa, good morning,” the air conditioner turns on at 74 degrees.
With a smart home system, you can manage all your home functions from anywhere, at any time, and how you want. This gives you maximum efficiency and monetary savings while giving you comfort and convenience.
Using Cielo Breez, you can control your Alexa-enabled air conditioner from anywhere in the house, where you can monitor and adjust the temperature with just one voice command.
Alexa-Compatible Smart Home Devices
Alexa Echo is Amazon’s market leader, with one of the widest ranges of smart home devices you can control with your voice.
In addition to making your life easier, smart thermostats can also help you save money. This technological upgrade will allow you to control the heating and cooling of your home from anywhere in the world using your smartphone. For even more convenience, many smart thermostats can be connected to Alexa-enabled smart home appliances for even greater ease of use.
It is important to choose a smart thermostat that is compatible with your system. Make sure that the smart assistant you choose is compatible with your home’s heating and cooling system, as well as your chosen smart assistant. The good news is that there is a smart product for every need, whether it’s controlling your air conditioner with Alexa or controlling your heating with Alexa.
One of the easiest and most impactful ways to get started with smart home technology is with smart plugs.
Using smart plugs, you can turn any electronic into a smart device so you can ask Alexa to control it. All you have to do is plug the smart plug into an electrical outlet, and you’ll be able to control lamps, fans, TVs, stereos, exercise equipment, and more. Alexa Echo smart plugs let you automate not-so-smart devices using your schedule and turn them on and off with your voice.
Alexa Home Heating Control
Generally, home heating systems fall into two categories:
- Low-voltage thermostats for central HVAC
- Line voltage thermostats for electric HVAC systems.
HVAC systems include furnaces, forced air, heat pumps, and boilers. You should consider Nest or Ecobee if you have central heating. They both work with Alexa and a variety of central systems.
An electric heating system can be a baseboard heater, a fan-forced heater, radiant heat in the ceiling, or electric in-floor heating. Whether you have a baseboard heater or in-floor heating, check out Mysa. Alexa is compatible with all Mysa products.
Heat pumps powered by IR are also electric, but they’re ductless. These heaters are controlled by handheld remotes or smart mini split controllers (also called smart mini split thermostats) instead of wired thermostats.
Alexa Air Conditioner / HVAC Management
Consider a smart thermostat for air conditioning if you want Alexa control. The right product depends on whether your air conditioner is ducted or ductless, so make sure you choose one that’s compatible.
Ducted Air Conditioners
An air conditioner with ducts is a central system with one power source. You can also use Ecobee or Nest smart thermostats to control your ducted air conditioner with Alexa.
Ductless Air Conditioners
It’s possible to have multiple ductless air conditioners in your home because ductless air conditioners are zoned systems. A mini split, a window AC unit, and a portable AC unit are all ductless. Alexa-compatible smart AC controllers are needed for these systems.
Your smart thermostat can be controlled with your voice using an Alexa Echo device. You can turn up the heat by saying, “Alexa, turn it up.” If it’s hot, you can use Alexa to control the air conditioner. Adding your smart thermostat to your smart home theme and controlling multiple zones is easy.
Dangers of Alexa
- Using Alexa Can Hurt a Child’s Social Skills
According to new research, voice assistants like Alexa and Siri can impede a child’s social and emotional growth.
There’s a voice app on almost every smartphone kids use, like Amazon’s or Apple’s smart technology. Scientists now believe that they can impair abilities like compassion, kindness, and critical thinking.
You can’t engage in non-verbal communication with the devices, making them ineffective for learning social interaction. Unlike in regular human interactions, a smart device cannot provide a child who behaves badly with constructive criticism.
It’s great to have gadgets to help you read and communicate. While AI-based human-sounding voices are cool, there are concerns about their long-term effects on kids’ brains. Inappropriate responses, social impediments, and learning stumbling blocks are three big issues.
- Can Alexa be Hacked?
Researchers have conducted several hacks on Alexa in order to find vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious actors. Check Point, a cybersecurity company, discovered one in 2020 that could allow hackers to install malware on Alexa and steal your personal information by installing malware on your phone. In a short time, Amazon was able to fix the issue.
The Wi-Fi network in your home can provide a hacker with access to virtually anything connected to it if they manage to gain access to the network. It should be noted, however, that there have been no reports of the hacking of an Alexa device by a malicious individual.
There’s a weakness called Alexa versus Alexa that Italian researchers found. They got access by making Alexa devices issue malicious commands to themselves. This can’t be done without malware, thankfully. Take precautions, and this shouldn’t be a problem.
How to Spot Alexa Hacking
You may have a tampered Alexa if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- There is no trigger word needed to turn on the listening light.
- You live alone, but your Amazon shopping cart has weird stuff in it. Alexa’s add-to-cart feature might be abused.
- The Alexa-enabled skills you have don’t match what you have on your home screen.
- Your Conversations Are Recorded By Alexa
Whenever you ask Alexa a question, it records it and sends it to the cloud. Recordings are stored until they’re manually deleted. When Alexa is used in conversations, it’ll start a new one.
- Get Rid Of Recordings
There’s always someone listening to Alexa. It records any conversation that includes the wake word “Alexa” (no matter if it’s directed at Alexa). In addition to listening, it records everything and stores it in the cloud.
Alexa does this as part of the process. The server gets the command from the user. Answers are sent back immediately after the command is processed. Every command and conversation are saved on the remote server.
You can, however, find out how Amazon Web Services uses your data to customize your searches.
The Alexa app lets you delete recordings manually, but you can’t stop Alexa from recording your conversations. Here’s how to delete your Alexa recordings from the Alexa app:
- Click “More” at the bottom right.
- To change Alexa’s privacy settings, go to Alexa Settings.
- Under “Manage your Alexa data,” you can now specify how long recordings will be saved.
- Alexa won’t save your recordings if you check the box “Don’t save my recordings.”
- Make Sure Wi-Fi Is Strong
Many cyberattacks happen when your Wi-Fi connection does not have a strong security feature that protects you. It is your router that is the point of entry for hackers to gain access to your devices. In this regard, you should choose the highest level of security you can with the help of strong passwords and encryption while setting up your connection.
- Keep Alexa Away From Windows
Hackers can control Alexa with lasers, so don’t put her near the window. Keeping Alexa in a place where hackers can throw lasers at her microphone is not a good idea.
If they can do that, you’ll make it easier for them to control Alexa and everything connected to it.
- Alexa Sidewalk Disabled
In the Ring or Alexa app, you can disable the Alexa sidewalk if you feel it’s a threat to your privacy. You can use Amazon Sidewalk to make all your Alexa devices work better. Alexa devices are connected to smart devices nearby through a shared, low-bandwidth network.
Strangers can use this, which can compromise security. It’s still possible for hackers to get into your network, even with multiple layers of security.
- Keep Smart Home Gadgets Smart
With the help of Alexa, an automated smart lock will be able to lock and unlock automatically. Essentially, what you are doing if you ask Alexa to unlock the door is giving her your security lock code and instructing her to remember it for future use. This information can be stolen from Alexa’s server by hackers, and they can then send it to thieves or break into your house using this information.
Additionally, your smart TVs, smart thermostats, and other smart devices can be hacked into without your knowledge. Although using smart devices is not a problem, it is best to use those that will not compromise your financial information, personal information, or home in any way.
- Mute Smart Speakers
Alternatively, you can turn off your Echo smart speaker at home to avoid Alexa accidentally recording your conversations. Alexa sometimes stops reminding you when you turn it off. To avoid these situations, disable the microphone service separately.
Another option is to put the speaker in a room where you’re not holding meetings or talking to friends.
- Avoid Alexa Skills That Require Financial Information
Some things require you to share your bank details with Alexa skills, and one of these things is booking an Uber using Alexa skills. As part of the Uber Alexa integration, you will also need to share your home address details with Uber.
Despite Amazon not sharing your personal information with third parties, hackers are always in the know. By breaking into these third-party apps (if they find any loopholes they can exploit), they can still access this information from these third-party apps. Smart devices in your home can also be used to collect your bank information.
Such third-party apps shouldn’t be used to access bank accounts or sensitive information. Passwords should not be saved on apps controlled by Alexa.
- Keep Alexa Away From the Door
Keep a special security PIN for Alexa to enable access to smart home systems. If you don’t want your speaker hacked from the outside, keep it away from windows and doors.
Emergency Response with Alexa
You or someone in your house can ask Alexa to call or text your emergency contact.
The Alexa app lets you add a contact as an emergency contact after you set up Alexa Communications. You get a message telling the recipient that they’ve been chosen as your emergency contact after selecting a number.
When you say these phrases, Alexa tries to contact your emergency contact:
- Call my emergency contact.
- Call my help contact.
- Call for help.
- I need help.
- Call my contact for help.
The Alexa app lets you call your Echo device if your emergency contact misses your call.
Having Alexa as a tool for your home can be a wonderful thing that anyone can take advantage of. It has never been easier than it is today to set up smart devices without doing anything, as you can control them with voice commands.
However, just like other technologies, Alexa has a few pros and cons that we have discussed above. We don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t use Alexa. We just want you to be extra vigilant so that you can take the necessary safety steps for your protection. Make sure your personal and financial information is not compromised in any way.