Amazon Echo - Skills - Timer

Amazon Echo - Skills - Timer

The Amazon Echo has made its way to our kitchen counter and we have had fun testing all of the ways it (or “she?”) can help out! 

In this series, “Alexa, could you please”, I will chronicle my exploration of all the ways Alexa is helping out around the house or providing a little entertainment. 

Skill: Timer
Helping Out around the house: Yes
Entertaining: No

Imagine… you have friends and family coming over for a dinner. You are running around getting ready. You are stirring a dish on the stove, flipping the burgers on the grill and attempting to pick up a little bit. 

You are distracted and dry burgers are definitely not on the menu. So you resort to setting a timer as a reminder to check on the burgers. 

Before Alexa enters the scene: you would come in from checking the burgers. They need another couple minutes. By walking over to the microwave to set a timer you are wasting precious “clean up time” and in this moment, every second counts. The doorbell rings... Your friends are here... 

Insert Alexa… Instead of walking over to set a timer, you are now folding a blanket while having the following interaction with Alexa. 

User- “Alexa, set a timer for three minutes.” 
Alexa- “ok, 3 minutes starting now” 

The doorbell rings, you calmly finish folding the blanket and head towards the door. Invite your guests to take a seat on the couch while you grab them a drink. 

…3 minutes pass
Alexa- (plays alarm sound and you go out to check on the burgers)

One improvement I would like to see made to this Skill is the ability to label your timers. With this labeling functionality, the interaction could go something like this: 

User - “Alexa, set a timer for the burgers” 
Alexa - “Ok, how long should I set the timer for the burgers?” 
User - “3 minutes”
Alexa - “ok, 3 minutes starting now” 
…3 minutes pass
Alexa - (plays a sound then speaks) “the timer for the burgers is done” 

There are now a few additional steps in this exchange but this would come in handy when you had multiple timers running at one time. The name/label would help you discern what you should check or take action on. 

In summary, this Skill isn't life changing but provides an ounce of convenience when times are hectic or just when you want to be awoken from a nap. Check the short demonstration of the skill. 

Leadership Nugget - Diversity in Projects - Dr. Seuss

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