Amazon Sidewalk will begin operating on June 8th, and it's got the media sounding what Leo calls a scare tactic. What Amazon Sidewalk is, will be a wireless network for things like location tracking of tagged animals and devices and the white paper indicates Sidewalk will be private and secure. It uses Amazon Echo and Alexa to create a neighborhood-wide mesh network for being able to locate your devices.
Doctor Mom calls in to warn that Amazon has turned on their Echo Sidewalk feature by default, and if users want to opt-out of the network, they have to go into the app settings and turn it off. Leo says that some people may feel it's an invasion of privacy, but it's really just a local network, and it doesn't carry any personal information; it just borrows some WiFi from you.
Doctor Mom calls in to talk about the 2nd generation Amazon Echo Buds. The earbuds are always listening and if you have a smart home, you can just tell Echo to do just about anything. The sound quality is a big improvement. They're also smaller and lighter. The case is also redesigned, looking a lot like Apple's ear pods case design. They are also USB-C now.
Amazon plans to use their Echo neighborhood network to making finding geotags accurately. The idea is to compete with Apple AirTags.
Amazon is now doing a kind of crowdsourcing for upcoming Echo products by offering preorders on product concepts. They are called Day 1 Additions. If enough people preorder the product, Amazon will make it. If not, they'll cancel it and move on without charging you.
Wanting to offer a neighborhood-based wifi network, Amazon has announced Amazon Sidewalk, which uses Bluetooth low energy (BLE) radios to connect everyone from house to house. You can get motion alerts from your security cameras, track your pets if they should run away, and even notifications when the mailman leaves you mail. As long as one device sees the other, it can pass along connectivity with a promised small amount of bandwidth.
Paul wants to be able to hook up a friend's Amazon Alexa device to his CD system, so he can create a speaker system in every house. Leo says that the Amazon FireTV Cube has an IR blaster that can command your devices from anywhere in the house. But to broadcast the signal on the Echo devices may be a challenge. If they had an audio-in jack, then that would be the easiest. Doing it digitally from your computer and streaming music would be even easier. But to play physical media over an Echo system is a challenge.
Eric figured out yesterday's question about adding a second Amazon Echo location to your Amazon account. He did it by adding it to his account at HIS location, and then brought it over to his mom's house by adding her phone number. So set all the Echo's up first and then bring them to mom.
Karen's mom has an Amazon Echo, but since it's hooked up to her phone, she can't use her own Echo. Leo says the solution is to create a new account for her and then reset it. But it may be possible to use the same account for both, but she may have to reset her brand new Echo to do it.
If she removes her new Echo from her Amazon account and then re-add it, then she should have both on the account. However, the issue with Karen's mom using her phone for her Echo account is that if she calls 911 with Echo, they will go to Karen's house, not hers. That's a problem.
Tim would like to set up his mother's TV to be able to change channels by voice activation. Leo says that the Amazon Fire with an IR blaster would be a great option. She could just talk into the remote. Can he create a remote access for the FireTV as he can with Amazon through the Echo? Leo says that there is a smartphone app that can work as a Fire TV remote, and you can perhaps use that on Tim's phone to make any changes. But you have to be on the same WiFi network for it to work.