The era of the smart assistant is upon us. As the holidays roll onward, you’ll likely get your hand on the latest tech and gadgetry. This even extends to Amazon’s Alexa and the accompanying Echo family. Alexa is a wonderful, smart assistant, and the Echo line of smart speakers is affordable and intuitive.
However, it can be a bit challenging to set Alexa up fresh out of the box. How do you connect something to WiFi that doesn’t have a screen? How do you get it to recognize your voice? If you’re a new Alexa user, you might have burning questions like these. Our simple guide will get you up and rolling with your Alexa so you can see what people have been raving about.
Step 1: Download the Alexa App
Anything you do with Alexa has to be done through the app. Amazon has done a great job of keeping the app accessible and easy to navigate. Installation is a breeze; you can find it through the Play Store or Apple App Store.
Your account information is necessary because Amazon will link the account to your Alexa, building a user profile from the things you search for and the way you use the Echo.
Step 2: Plug Your Alexa In
You can’t do a whole lot without some power to the Alexa device. Plug the AC adapter into the device’s power port and the most convenient power outlet. While it powers on, you’ll notice a series of lights around the device. These aren’t important yet, but they indicate that it’s ready to connect.
After a short while of booting up, your device may prompt you to go to the Alexa app to continue setup.
Step 3: Go to More on the Alexa App
For this step, you’ll need to access the Alexa app.
Step 4: Add New Device
You’ll want to select the add a device option from the More menu. There are a variety of selections you can make from here. On some occasions, you may find that this step isn’t necessary. The Echo might prompt you to connect automatically once you launch the app.
Step 5: Confirm Device
After selecting your Alexa device, it should emit an orange light. The orange light indicates it is in setup mode or is actively configured. While this occurs, there should be a prompt on the app to select your available device. Following this prompt, the app will ask you for the available WiFi network and password to connect.
Step 6: Choose Language and Room
Room selection has no bearing on how Alexa works, but it can allow you to set up additional devices in groups later. This can be great if you decide to expand how many Echo devices you have. You can use them for different content or purposes simultaneously.
Step 7: Voice ID and Address
This part is optional, but it allows Alexa to set up a voice profile and base your preferences and results on that. You will then be asked to enter your address to receive accurate traffic information, weather updates, and local events.
Step 8: Sidewalk and Final Setup
This is optional. After tapping disable or enable on Sidewalk, it’ll present a short setup video explaining how to use your Alexa device. Your Echo should also start playing instructions and giving options for the next steps. You can end this with a simple “Alexa stop” if you want.
The following video from Amazon Alexa demonstrates how quick and easy it is to set up Amazon Alexa. Although the video is specific to the Echo Dot 3rd Gen, the steps are similar across all Amazon Alexa devices.
Next Steps To Take
Now that your Amazon Echo is fully set up, you can explore other ways of personalizing your Alexa. With Alexa, you can set up custom routines and scheduled tasks. This is helpful if you have Alexa-compatible devices in your home. If you have more devices in the Amazon ecosystem, Alexa can handle those as well.
Alexa presents many possibilities for making your home life more accessible. Plus, it’s simple to use. While the setup can seem involved, it still is a user-friendly product.
Alexa can profile your voice, which it uses to tailor results, preferences, and other aspects of the device. There are certainly benefits to profiling your voice, as the Echo can address you by your name.
Voice profiles also provide personalized responses for skills, and Alexa’s name for apps, adding a degree of familiarity. Personal reminders, preferred music streaming services, and news briefings are available.
Here is a caveat. Voice profile requires more open privacy settings. If you’re a little more cautious about how your data is stored and transported, this might not be for you. Making Alexa feel more personal does make for a better experience.
Another configuration option, Sidewalk, is an established local area network for your other smart devices. This could be beneficial for things like smart doorbells, cameras, and other home surveillance equipment. It may help reduce pointing your devices toward the correct wireless network.
For the technically minded, this is Alexa establishing in a miniature mesh network in the home. You will find it helpful in finding your keys through a connected Tile. Another added benefit is Sidewalk will remain operational if your internet goes down. You can still control your doorbell, see your keys, and whatever else is using Sidewalk to connect.
On the flip side, Sidewalk shares network bandwidth with any nearby Alexa devices, like your neighbor’s. It takes a minimal amount of your network bandwidth, but Amazon claims that Sidewalk is safe and helpful for users.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Scalable Grid Engine, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.