In a household with three busy, scattered children and two unruly dogs, it is nice when I actually receive a response to my questions and requests!
Alexa, the comforting voice inside Amazon Echo, is there when I need to know the missing ingredient to a recipe, to set the timer so I won't burn the muffins or to read the news while I complete a household task.
Although it may not sound like Alexa takes that much off my plate, she can perform a number of tasks that can save time and maybe even some money.
Shopping by Voice
Do you need to order a specific special needs product?
She can service your request for dairy free yoghurts, nappies/diapers for older children, chemical free baby wipes or even a certain special needs book -- quickly and easily.
The key is to have an Amazon Prime account and to be very specific about the item that you are requesting.
If you know the brand, title, specifications and color you need, you will be more successful at shopping via voice.
Do you need to know the weather forecast so that you can plan your day?
It may be that you need some support or advice for a particular special needs topic.
Ask Alexa to find that information for you, and she will read it aloud.
Managing Home Electronics
Although I have not personally tried this, Alexa may be able to save you money by managing your home's heat, cooling and lighting.
If your hands are full or busy with other tasks, she can turn on lights or other "smart" electronics that have these capabilities.
Your home would need to be equipped with the appropriate smart devices. However, the upfront investment will likely pay off in the long run in lower utility bills.
Taking a Relaxing Moment
Lastly, Alexa can be a friend who listens to you and helps you relax.
Have Alexa read you the news or play some soothing music when you need some down time.
Better yet, if you need a smile at the end of what was likely a challenging day, ask Alexa to tell you a joke!
Although Google Home, Amazon Echo or Microsoft's the Verge cannot replace human contact, having an interactive tool in your home can make things just a little easier as you move through your busy life.
And if you just need some peace and quiet, you can just say, "Alexa, stop!"