10 Things To Do First – Part 1

Let’s Get Started!

1. Set Up

It’s a wonderful thing that set up is fairly seamless with the Echo devices. Power it up, login to the Alexa app, connect to WiFi, and you are good to go. However, a common scenario for first-time users can cause a bit of frustration….

You power on your device, the process begins, and your device begins to immediately look for internet access.  You then scramble to open the Alexa app on your smart phone, login with your Amazon credentials, and catch up to the orange light on your device thirsting for your wifi network and the internet. It will time out eventually and will result in you having to manually initiate setup again.

Suggestion: Download and open the Alexa app first. Then plug in your Echo device. A small thing, but quite the time-saver.

2. Alexa Companion App

Do you squint when you type, swipe or scroll on your mobile device? I do! Or are you caring for an elder adult who doesn’t use their smart phone except for emergencies – “It’s just too darn hard to see!”

While the Alexa Companion app for your mobile phone is fully functional and includes a few capabilities that can only be set up within the mobile app (I’m looking at you Alexa Calling & Messaging & Your Voice), for all else, there is another way!

Suggestion: Try logging in via your web browser to configure your Alexa app defaults and services. The larger screen view is wonderful on an tablet or desktop. (Where are my glasses?!)  You can find Alexa online at: alexa.amazon.com

3. Wake Word

Your Amazon Echo devices listens for its wake word before it jumps into action for you. “Alexa” is the default wake word out-of-the-box.

Now, you may not care for Alexa, or you may have some one in your house called Alexa, or “Alex” or “Lexi” for that matter. Could be a bit annoying to hear your Echo respond when you say that persons name. “Alexa” is also in all the media commercials you see – great branding, but sometimes your device responds to hearing its name on TV – (thats another post for later).

The good news is you can change your Alexa wake word to “computer”, Amazon” or “Echo” depending on need, taste or geekiness. (by the way, “computer” is a nod to Star Wars).

If you don’t use the Alexa mobile app for iOS or Android, you can configure your Echo through the web. Just go to alexa.amazon.com in your browser and you’ll be able to log-in and control your device without needing a phone.

Step 1. Log in
Step 2. Go to Settings
Step 3. Under Devices locate and tap/click on your device name
Step 4. Under General, tap on Wake Word
Step 5. Use the dropdown to select your desired wake word
Step 6. Tap Save

4. Request Sounds

Your Echo devices has a light ring circling the top of the device. It lights up when you wake up the device and issue voice commands. If the Alexa/Echo device user has low vision, visual limitation or is not in line of sight to the device, you can turn on/off a “Request Sound” to know Alexa has heard you. You can have Alexa play a sound when you say something to Alexa at the start of a request and/or at the end of a request.

Step 1. Log in
Step 2. Go to Settings
Step 3. Under Devices locate and tap/click on your device name
Step 4. Under General, tap on Sounds
Step 5. Under Request Sounds, toggle on or off for each of the options: “Start of Request” and “End of Request.

Great for those visually hindered!

5. Voice Purchasing

It is possible to make Amazon purchases or payments on your Alexa-enabled devices. After you register your device, voice purchasing is enabled by default. What does this mean?

If Purchase by voice is enabled, it is possible to make Amazon purchases or payments on your Alexa-enabled device. If Purchase by Voice is disabled, Alexa won’t allow anyone to make an Amazon purchase or payment via your Alexa-enabled device. You can still search products, add things to your cart, etc, but will not be able to place your order, if voice purchasing is disabled.

We think one of the first things one should do when configuring their settings in the Alexa app is to make a decision here. (You don’t want to accidentally order something, or have another with access to you Alexa device purchase something unknowingly).

You have options. You can turn off Voice Purchasing, blocking the ability to place an order, or you can add a “Voice Code”. A Voice Code is a 4-digit code you can establish within the Alexa settings. When this “code” is enabled, Alexa will ask you to say your 4-digit confirmation code before completing your purchase. (This is great!)

(Also, this is the basics of Voice Purchasing Settings. We’ll cover how the voice code interacts with “Voice Profiles” in Part 2 of this series.)

The Basics:

Step 1. Log in
Step 2. Go to Settings
Step 3. Scroll down to the Alexa Account section
Step 4. Click on Voice Purchasing
Step 5. Purchase by Voice Options
a. Toggle off Purchase by Voice
b. Toggle on Voice Purchasing
– Toggle on Voice Code
– Enter a 4-digit voice code
– Click Save

Be sure to check out Part 2 of 10 things To Do First

You can find 10 Things To Do First – Part 2 here