Henry has a few Amazon Echos and wants to know if he can turn his lights on/off with them. Leo says absolutely, but he'll need smart home lights that support the Echo. Philips Hue is one brand. But there are plenty of others out there. He can also get smart switches that enable him to turn things off with his voice. He should search Amazon for "works with Alexa" devices.
Sam is thinking of getting an Alexa or Google Assistant to control his door locks and is worried about security and privacy. Leo says that all assistants are roughly the same. They listen for a keyword. And there's no evidence that either Amazon or Google are spying on you. Schlage makes one that is dedicated and doesn't need the assistant, so it has a directly line which can be more secure. But any iOT device can get hacked. Bottom line is, that no door lock is perfect. It's a deterrent, a suggestion. But if the bad guy wants to get in, he can.
Doctor Mom is calling in to talk about all the latest Echo products put out by Amazon. The Amazon Echo Input, is a speakerless Echo that you can attach to a speaker you already have. Echo can read your email if you ask, too. There's also a feature called Alexa Guard, which willl listen for things like glass breaking and smoke detection, and will turn on all the stereos really loud and then contact the authorities.
Doctor Mom calls in to talk about new features with Amazon Alexa/Echo. You can now not only link your Echo to your cellphone to make calls, but you can also make Skype calls. And while they have Bluetooth built in, you can't add a headset. It's all speakerphone. Apple is going to be showing up on Amazon for the holidays, which Doctor Mom says will kill the HomePod. A great, but overpriced speaker system.
Charlie would like to pair his old Smart TV with the Amazon Alexa. How can he do that? Leo says the the Amazon Fire TV Cube may be a good option, it works with an IR blaster. But it won't turn the TV on, since the IR blaster loses connection. Leo recommends the Logitech Harmony Hub. It'll connect to his Echo, and then will work in between the Echo and his TV.
Olga wants to know if the Amazon Echo Look is a good option for the blind. Leo says that while the Echo is great for the blind in general, the Look model has a camera that is really only good for taking pictures of an outfit to make a fashion choice. Then it uses the pictures to compare wardrobe choices from the last week and to recommend outfits. Leo found it to be a bit silly, and it might not be her taste.
GJ wants to know how to record over the air signals. Rich says that Amazon now has the Fire TV Recast, which records over the air programs, and he can set it with the Amazon Echo. Then he can stream them to all of his devices via WiFi. But he would need an antenna.
Thursday, Amazon held a surprise Alexa event, announcing 14 new Alexa centered products, with nearly 75 new features. Rich doesn't think it's trivial that Amazon chose the day before the iPhone shipped to grab all the headlines. But Rich also thinks that companies want their customers to be exclusive, and you can end up becoming deeper into their ecosystem, making it harder to use other products outside of it.
Josh would like to educate himself on consumer electronics and technology. Leo says that tablets and mobile have really moved into the game, even in the corporate arena, where Bring Your Own Devices is a thing now. Voice technologies like the Amazon Echo and Google Assistant are really hitting the mainstream, and with that, so is home automation. Drones are also big. And looking over the horizon, AI is going to be big.
Brian is blind and wants to know what he can do to access the TV easier. Leo says that the Amazon Fire TV Cube is a good option, but the Echo can sometimes misunderstand. It's a good idea to keep it away from TV speakers. He can connect it to his home theater and control everything with his voice. That's a great feature.