Here are 7 Things You Didn’t Know Your Smart Hub Could Do
Now that smart home hubs like the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod have been part of our lives for years, you may have settled into a complacent relationship with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. Sure, you use them to set a timer, turn on your lights or play some music, but are you really utilizing the thousands of functions your smart hub has available?
From connecting to your car to getting first aid help when you need it, consider what else your hubs can be doing for you.
1. Utilize creative reminders
You might already ask Alexa to remind you about meetings you’ve scheduled that day, or to remind you to take a medication. But you can get a little more creative with reminders, too. Is there something you often misplace? You can say, “Alexa, remember that I put my passport in the basement file cabinet” and she’ll know where it is next time you ask her.
You can also set up reminders for household tasks that are spaced out quite a bit. Set quick reminders like, “Google, remember that I watered the plants on July 20” or “Remind me to change the Brita filter three months from now.”
Or maybe you could benefit from a few wellness reminders throughout the day. You can have your smart hub periodically tell you to get up and do a few stretches or jumping jacks, or give you the positive affirmation you need to make it through a sluggish afternoon.
2. Shake up your skincare routine
Whether you’re already down with a 10-step nightly beauty routine or have no clue where to begin, a little help from Liv at Estée Lauder can help you out. The Google Assistant program gives users customized advice about the best products to fit varying skin needs, guides you through your nighttime routine, reminds you to stick to it and can learn over time how to better give you the skincare advice tailored to help you feel your best.
3. Practice languages
Is your high school French getting rusty? Programs on your Amazon Echo like Daily Dose, Rosetta Stone or SayHi Language Learning can teach you a new word a day, walk you through key phrases before you head out on a trip or give you a little 10-minute lesson to keep your language skills sharp. If you really want to go full immersion, you can also change the language of your smart hub, so you’re forced to practice every time you give it a command or get a reminder.
Got a multilingual household? Your Amazon Echo can be used in a couple languages at once, so everyone can get in on the fun.
4. Get first aid help
With Mayo Clinic First Aid, you can ask Alexa for quick help with life’s little scrapes. Ask questions like, “What can I do to reduce this fever?” or “What do I need to treat a cut?” It’s more than just a Google result—it’s step-by-step info from trusted medical professionals to make sure you’re covered when you need it.
5. Set up an intercom system
No one needs to be shouting from room to room anymore. With a smart hub in a few different rooms in your house (including the smaller, more affordable mini hub versions), you can create your own personal intercom system.
With Amazon Alexa, the feature is called “Drop In.” All you have to do is speak into your Amazon Echo, tell it which devices you want to drop in on, and start your message—maybe you want to let the fam know it’s time for dinner, or ask your kids how their homework is coming along.
You can do this on the HomePod, too. If you’re a household full of Apple users, this can be really functional, as you can send your voice message to someone’s iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch in addition to any HomePod hub. You could speak into your HomePod in the basement, and a few stories up, your spouse could get an alert on their Apple Watch letting them know you’re ready to press play on your latest Netflix binge.
6. Connect to your car
Tons of automakers like Ford are creating Alexa Skills programming for their cars, letting you have control of your car right from your couch. You can give Alexa commands related to your car, like double-checking that you locked the doors, or warming up the car on a frigid day. You can also ask Alexa for safety information, like a check on tire pressure, or ask how much gas you have left in the tank.
7. Boost productivity
You might already use your smart hub for timers while you’re cooking. But timers can also help with productivity. If you’re procrastinating or feeling overwhelmed with a mile-long to-do list, ask your smart home hub to help you with the Pomodoro Technique. It breaks your work or study time into manageable increments, helping you stay in the moment for short periods of time.
On Amazon Alexa devices, Google Home devices and the HomePod, you can simply use your voice to start a timer. And if you accomplish your goal, don’t be afraid to give yourself a little reward—maybe ask Alexa to play your favorite song so you can take a dance break, or have your Google Assistant tell you a joke and take your brain off work for moment.
Now that you’re taking advantage of more of your smart hub’s features, make sure your network is up to the task. Fiber can power your home into the future—check in with your provider to see if it’s available in your area.