How To Properly Setup Amazon Echo "Hey Alexa"
By chance, if you're in the process of purchasing an Amazon Echo, then you stumbled upon the right post. I was given the awhile back Echo device as a gift and partook in the whole setup which isn't difficult at all. Still there many who don't have the tech savvy or confidence to set up such a device. So it's my obligation to you readers to put together a detail step-by-step guide on how to set up Echo. My particular model is the Plus variant which is the 2nd Gen version.
Assuming you just got your brand new Echo and just took it out of the box. Here are steps you need to take to get your device going and start issuing out commands.
Once you unboxed the Echo, attach the cable to the device and then plug the power brick to any wall outlet or surge protector.
Download the app from your respective app stores; be it Android or iOS. Then power up your device. You should see the LED light ring circling on top and shortly, Alexa will then inform that you must use the app to complete the setup process.
If you haven't already signed up for an Amazon account, do so now because it's the only way the Echo can be operational. Quick note, you don't need an Amazon prime subscription though you will miss out on a few features, such as the ability to access music from Amazon library.
Let’s Get Connected
Once you've downloaded the Alexa app, go directly to set up, from where you want to add a device. You have a choice between, Echo, lights, hub, switches, tap on Echo. From there several versions of the device will appear Echo, Echo Plus (2nd Gen), Echo Dot. If you purchased the Echo Plus, tap on that icon. One of the mistakes I made was I clicked on the first generation device, not knowing that I was supposed to have touched on the Echo Plus icon. Of course, problematic issues did occur, one being the inability to connect to my WiFi network.
*Make sure you connect the right device*
Go directly to your smartphone settings, then WiFi settings. Locate your new Echo that should appear on the list: which should look like this "Echo-2JZ" or something closely similar. Tap on it, and it should connect right away requiring no password.
Echo will then try to connect to your WiFi-network, enter your password to your wireless router. Your smartphone or tablet should now automatically reconnect to the same network you no longer need to be connected to the Echo.
That’s it, you’re all done. Now you can start issuing out commands to your brand new Echo, “Hey Alexa”.
It seems the ever so popular home assistant is a recording device for Amazon, let me explain. As reported by several news outlets Amazon has thousands of its employees listen to recordings from Alexa devices. Teams of Amazon employees ( roughly about a 1,000) are transcribing speech from these recordings into printed text. Here's where it gets weird; there are claims in various reports the very same employees can hear background conversations while the device is in its idle state. In essence, Amazon turned the Echo into a surveillance bug. Of course, Amazon has some explaining to do, which they did. Their claim is small samples of Alexa recordings are used to help the company with speech recognition and natural language system, just so Alexa better understand users request.
Amazon also states that Alexa is not recording all conversations. Echo and many other Alexa enabled devices capture and process audio, only when the "Alexa" wake word spoken. Alexa sometimes captures audio and then sends it to Amazon servers.
There are preventive measures you can take; you can turn Echo's mic off altogether. Do this by pressing the microphone on/off button located on the top of the device. The button will display a red color light indicating the mic is off. To reactivate the mic press the button again. You should know this will prevent Echo from hearing users commands. I will only do this if you have intentions of using this device for a long duration. If you're disturbed by the recent report, then don't buy the Echo. I went on ahead and published this post thinking consumers are still going to purchase the Echo anyway, recent reports have certainly not hindered sells on the device, though there is a cause for concern.