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