I'm enjoying taking a look back at the past year, so wanted to continue doing so, this time with a product manager perspective. And somewhat of a technology enthusiast perspective. Now these are certainly not all products that were released in 2017. I'm unfortunately not a blogger for a tech publication who gets access to all the fun things before they come out. But these are the things I've started using that have been real game changers this year.
But we set it up and began to use it occasionally. It was a novelty at first, but then I began to see the potential uses. And given the fact that they are only $30 (or around that depending on timing), it seemed like a no-brainer. Dots began to appear in new places. I began using one as my alarm in the morning. The dot in the kitchen became a go-to for music for the kids whenever they wanted to hear a particular song. And it's so easy that they have begun to ask Alexa to play songs for them. McCoy can get it to work. Kinley is surprisingly close (Alexa just has a little trouble understanding toddlers still).
And as we moved into our new home and began incorporating smart home devices, Alexa became an even more integral part of our routine. A simple voice command to turn off all the main floor lights. Or turn on the Christmas lights. We now have dots in most rooms of the house, which also lends itself to the cool functionality of being able to call room to room, like an intercom system. Which wasn't something we realized would be useful until we started to use it. Now it feels like a must-have thing.
This also includes the new echo spot, which is a recent addition, but is superb in what it can do. It looks great and makes me want to have a few more.
Having just come off of the Christmas season, you can imagine how helpful that was for Christmas lights.
The other product is their light switch. It is almost just as simple. You just need to remove your old switch, wire in the new one, and viola, it's done. You can control your lights from anywhere. All of these work great with Alexa, which is a big win. And the app is incredibly easy to use to group things together or control remotely. It adds a degree of simplicity to my life that I appreciate. With a simple voice command, I can pretty much turn off an entire floor of lights from the bedroom. Or set things on a timer so I no longer even have to think about them (hello porch lights). So no more getting out of bed to check all the lights. It is another game changer for me.
Ultimately, what I'm looking for in the products I love are problems that are being solved in my life, without forcing me to change what I'm doing. They just fit in and make things easier. That is certainly the case with Alexa and some of the smart home products I've loved this year. And I'm looking forward to a great 2018!
My personal musings on a variety of topics.