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.
Steve wants to turn off in his Amazon Alexa. He can't stop his 4-year-olds from making calls. Leo says that he may have to call Amazon Support at 1 (888) 280-4331 and ask them to disable it. Presumably, it's a safety feature in case of emergencies. He could turn off the option in the Amazon app, turning it off device by device. Go to preferences - then communications. There's a disable option by device. Steve said that he looked and the option isn't on in the app. But it still works. So only a call to Amazon will prevent that from happening.
OCG wants to know if Google can make the Home Assistant voice hardware become smarter. Leo says that the entire IoT space has kinda hit a limit of what it can do, and there's been very little innovation of late. Even for Amazon Alexa and SIRI. At some point, it should increase in power and intelligence. But it has plateaued right now and voice-activated devices are a disappointment. AI isn't very smart, and it turns out it's very hard to do.
Brian is having issues with his Amazon Alexa Echo Gen 2 and it's starting to have "hearing" problems. Leo says that it's probably an indication that the unit is dying. Brian could reset it. See if that helps. Also, he could plug in an external microphone.
But the good news is, that the new generation Amazon Echo is cheaper and better. He can also get the Echo Dot for under $50 that can connect to his own speakers.
Stan has Arlo security cameras around his home and several IOT devices around his home. But all his devices go off and warn him if there's movement on one camera, but not the rest. Leo suspects that your other cameras haven't had the notification enabled. ScooterX in the chatroom says that the Arlo cameras linked to his Echo need the skill to do it. Check this technote. He will need to go into his Alexa app and discover all the cameras.