It’s only been about two months and Alexa has changed the way I interface with my devices.
I’ve had Siri since I switched from a Blackberry to an iPhone4S. (The S stood for Siri.)
The new smartphone was such an improvement over my Blackberry Pearl that I never used Siri much in the beginning, later, I would use her to type my text messages, but that was about it.
All that changed this past Christmas when my fiancé, Sue, put an Amazon Echo Dot into my Christmas stocking. It took about two weeks before I finally got around to plugging the Dot into electrical power, downloaded the Amazon Echo app to my iPhone7 and connected the Dot to our house Wi-Fi.
Now Sue has never been thrilled by all the remote controls to operate our TVs, radios and audio systems. And truthfully, I wish it could be simpler too.
Alexa teaches us both new tricks, by simply talking to her artificial intelligence voice. And we both love it!
Once adapted to Alexa, I began to use Siri to do more things on my iPhone7 and AppleTV.
We cut the cord last year but to satisfy my news diet, I put in Sling TV with the news package. The rest of our TV watching is filled up with Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube. New movies that we missed at the local theaters or never played in our area are viewed using iTunes.
Finding something to watch used to be rather tedious, but now, I just say “Hey Siri…”and she goes off and finds it, offers me the viewing options available to me (I always opt for the FREE route) and the program begins immediately.
Something that has long been on my bucket list has been driving across America from coast-to-coast and seeing those things I’ve only seen by flying over them. Places like Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon etc. Lucky for me, that’s been on Sue’s bucket list too.
We put up a big map of the United States in our kitchen and have lined out the route we plan to take with bright yellow dots marking our planned stops along the way.
In preparation for this 8,000-mile, eight-week trip, I bought the latest GARMIN SmartDrive 61 GPS. It comes with the ability to do “Voice Commands” for plotting your next destination, finding hotels, restaurants and points of interest.
Thanks to Alexa and Siri, I quickly embraced this feature.
But it doesn’t stop there, my new GPS also links to my smartphone and displays news bulletins, real-time traffic, weather conditions, my complete contact phone book, helps me to find parking and then remembers where I parked when I want to return to my car. And it makes it all easily accessible by just using my voice.
But You’re a Radio Guy
Whenever I write something about new technology, what I hear back are things like, “You’re a radio guy” or “you love technology.” The meaning being, I’m not like your average consumer. But, I believe that just as Amazon has changed the way we shop for just about everything, Alexa will bring about a similar change in the way we interface with our devices.
Carnegie’s Constant Reminder
One of the many radio publications I would read daily was Jim & Cathy Carnegie’s Radio Business Reports (RBR). If there was one thing I remember most about that publication under Jim’s reign, it was about dealing with change. Jim constantly banged the drum warning the radio industry “to get with it or be left behind by it.”
He reflected change by taking his own publication and changing the way it would be delivered and cover the broadcasting industry. He led by example.
Seniors & VADs
I know the young person’s perception are that senior citizens (anyone with an AARP card) is stuck in their ways and not likely to adopt anything new. Well, I’m here to tell you, you would be wrong. Especially, when it comes to voice activated devices (VADs).
I fully anticipate that seniors, aka Boomers, will lead the adoption of these devices. One of the reasons being they enable us to eliminate the multitude of buttons and collection of remote controls by simply using our voices.
What I Learned About Seniors from a Pharmacist’s Son
Back when I was put in charge of a thousand-watt, daytime, Music of Your Life radio station, I remember going out and meeting with clients to build up my new radio station’s client base.
One day, I walked into a pharmacy thinking that my “old folks format” would be perfect for people needing medication. Well, I never got the pharmacy on-the-air for drug announcements.
Upstairs above the pharmacy, the youngest member of the family had started an electronics division, selling the latest computers, phones, and other gadgets. He told me he’d love to be a big advertiser on my radio station catering to the over 65 age group.
Because, he told me, unlike young people who when something new came out, would look at it and say, “I’m going to wait until they come out with the new and improved version,” seniors would buy it on the spot.
What he learned was, seniors felt they could afford to have the latest technology now, and if something better came out, they’d trade up to that next. And this was almost 40-years ago!
Now, with my AARP card occupying a place in my wallet for more than decade, I can tell you, that’s exactly how I feel.
Get on board the change train
Get left behind
14 responses to “Voice Command”
I guess I better turn my voice on! So excited to hear about your cross-country tour. There is so much to see and each time you see one thing, you discover someplace else to add to your list. Enjoy the moments and take the back roads (non-highways) when possible. I look forward to following your journey.
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Thank You Both.
The, on the other hand…
And has you particular Alexa let out a creepy laugh in the middle of the night, Dick?
No, it has not.
I realize that these devices are yet another step in surrendering one’s privacy. But at this point in life’s journey, that’s not a concern.
Last night my St. Patty’s group of boy/girl boomer buds played “Pick a Song.” And, up popped the memory, concert, parking or party night tune with great home audio & video. Often, we had to engage the annoying letter locator. But, regardless of voice activation with gadgets, there’s a lot quality for curation to spark & freshen radio. And, we need it now! Give it up for “Let’s Have a KiKi” by the Scissor Sisters!
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We enjoy lying in bed at night and coming up with different songs for Alexa to play for us. It’s fun and the music brings back so many memories for us and then stimulates our conversation.
My Amazon Echo has replaced an actual radio receiver for much of my radio listening at home. I simply ask Alexa to play a given station, and she finds and connects to the station’s online stream using iHeartRadio, TuneIn, SiriusXM or a station’s dedicated app. (I have to enable that app as an Alexa skill, of course.) The online delay is usually around 90 seconds behind the real-time broadcast — but the audio is crystal,-clear and static-free, any time of day or night, no matter how far away the station may be. It’s DXing for the 21st Century!
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I would agree with you Walter. Thanks for adding to the discussion.
#1 Dick….I trust you two will enjoy your “Bucket List” trip as much as we did! If we can be of any help, you know where to find us. #2, I have long held that the view the advertising world has of us “boomers”, is so off base, and that they are totally wrong about how we view new products. I know so many folks our age who have and are adopting new technology, such as Alexa, and shifting to new brands of cars and the like. We are not stuck in the past, and are willing to spend money to go in a new direction, and have the money to do so! #3, I like the sound of that new GARMIN you’ve got. One of the biggest complaints I’ve got with our GARMIN is imputing destinations via the touch screen, but in the almost 10,000 mikes we did on our bucket list trip, it always got us to our destination, and we used it every day! Enjoy my friend!
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Thank You Frank & Sue.
One of the things that makes our road trip just a bit different than yours is, we will be stopping along the way to spend time with members of our family and of course, the grandkids. We won’t have any hard travel timelines, and if we choose to at anytime, we will make changes to our itinerary.
You two have been an enormous help & inspiration. For that I’m very grateful.
Nice to know you’re there if we need you.
-Dick & Sue
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For those interested in digging deeper into this subject, here’s “Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report” by Voicebot. https://www.voicebot.ai/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/smart_speaker_consumer_adoption_report_2018.pdf
Pingback: The Past is Not Prologue | DickTaylorBlog
Interesting commentary by Jason Stamper about how Amazon’s Echo has impacted his life.
Dave Van Dyke’s Bridge Ratings latest research on the smart speaker and music consumption.