The Amazon Echo interactive devices recently received another upgrade to the features, this time allowing for more commands to be given to Alexa before it goes back to sleep. For the longest time, users would need to say “Alexa,” followed by their command in order to turn on a smart device such as a lightbulb, the thermostat, or other items. Now a brand new feature within the app allows Echo users to give Alexa multiple commands in a row without needing to keep saying “Alexa” to wake up the system.
On Friday, CNET‘s Taylor Martin reported about the new upgrade to the Alexa devices called “Follow-up Mode.” By using one’s Amazon Alexa app (on Android or iOS) or logging in on the Amazon Alexa website, users can enable the Follow-up mode in the settings area. Once enabled, a user can wake up the system as they normally would with their wake-up word, usually “Alexa,” followed by a specific command.
Once that initial command is given, such as “Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights,” Alexa will perform that action and respond with “Okay.” However, now Alexa will wait for several more seconds for an additional command. Users could say “Turn the light to 50 percent” or “Change the light color to red,” for example, if the smart bulb includes those capabilities.
The string of commands isn’t limited to the first smart device one asks Alexa to operate either. For example, one could start with “Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights,” wait for the “Okay” reply, and then say, “Turn the temperature up to 65 degrees,” to operate two different smart devices with one string of commands.
Keep in mind the system will wait a few seconds for the next command before eventually going back to sleep. Also, it’s mentioned that a user can say “Stop,” “Cancel,” “Go to Sleep,” or “Thank you” to end the Follow-up mode if needed.
It’s also noted that this new feature will not work for the Amazon Echo devices when a voice or video call is underway, as well as when an audiobook or music is streaming. However, this new set of features seems to be a step in the right direction toward making the smart speaker even smarter.
Previously, users would need to use a third-party app to have Echo automatically perform a string of commands, but this newest upgrade looks like it could lead to more improvements for the Alexa app. One has to think that Amazon will continue to innovate, possibly offering a feature where users can use one command to turn on the lights, adjust the temperature, and start playing music, for example.
The latest lineup of Echo devices includes the original Echo speaker, an Echo Plus, Echo Dot, as well as video display devices known as the Echo Show and Echo Spot. Prices currently range from $39.99 for the Dot speakers, up to over $200 for the Echo Show with video display screen. Amazon is clearly continuing to innovate in the smart speaker and smart home space, as competitors such as Google and Apple are looking to move in and find advantages.