When Amazon first launched their own voice recognition speakers back in November 2014, nobody really knew what to think about voice technology.
It was the newest technology we’d seen provided to the public for years, and nobody knew whether it was going to be a success or not.
This meant that, at least initially, people weren’t exactly rushing to create an Alexa skill for their organization or personal use.
There was nothing to say that doing so would be a success, and wasting the time it would take to develop a skill wouldn’t be worth it if it wasn’t.
Five years later, and there’s no denying that voice technology devices have transformed the way we find information.
The Alexa skills section has grown to reflect this, with skills covering everything from healthcare to technology and inspirational talks.
According to Digital Authority Partners, over half of consumers already use voice to find local business information, so even local businesses have jumped on the bandwagon.
There is currently nothing stopping you from creating an Alexa skill, which means that among the good quality, informative apps, there are some bad ones.
That’s why we’re here today to shed some light on the apps you should definitely know about—and use—yourself in 2019.
Omron Heartguide Smartwatch
This skill came out with the announcement of the second Omron Heartguide smartwatch, offering individuals the unique opportunity to request information about their smartwatch data on any Alexa device.
The smartwatch itself handles many different functions, but it is primarily known for it’s blood pressure taking and monitoring abilities.
With a flexible synthetic band attaching the device around your wrist that has been engineered to inflate and deflate, this device provides blood pressure readings that are as accurate as that of upper-arm sphygmomanometers, the blood pressure cuffs you’d usually find in hospitals.
Using this device allows people with chronic blood pressure issues or concerns to monitor their levels, allowing them to seek help if needed before an emergency situation occurs.
The accompanying Alexa skill has only enhanced its featured, allowing users to get heart rate readings and a full fitness history by simply asking Alexa to do so.
The skill can also provide tips on how to manage heart conditions on the going, giving people more control over their health and helping to prevent further complications through bad management in the future.
Sleep Sounds: Heavy Rain
More than 50 million American’s struggle with a sleeping disorder of some kind, with a further 20-30 million struggling with intermittent sleeping problems each year.
If you are one of these people, then an Alexa skill like Sleep Sounds could be perfect for you.
Using sounds scientifically proven to trigger the relaxation sensors in your brain, like heavy rain, thunder and nature noises, this app will help distract your mind from negative thoughts to help you slip into a peaceful sleep quickly.
Thanks for Alexa’s innovative technology, you needn’t worry about the electricity you could waste by leaving the skill on all night, either.
Simply ask Alexa to set a sleep timer for however long you think it’ll take you to get to sleep—we recommend thirty minutes—and allow Alexa to take care of things while you drift slowly into your slumber.
Artificial intelligence has become a big resource in the healthcare industry in recent years, and 2019 shows it making its mark in the Alexa skills, too.
This app works by listening to your symptoms and suggesting possible causes of those symptoms, from conditions that may match your symptoms.
The more you utilise this skill, the more the app will learn about you, and suggestions will become more accurate and therefore useful over time.
It’s worth baring in mind that, as intelligent as artificial intelligence is, it cannot replace seeing a real doctor.
If you think you might have a serious health condition, or are worried about symptoms you’re displaying, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.
TED Talks have been around for ages, providing ordinary people like you and me with an insight into the world’s of extraordinary people for years.
In late 2018, TED Talks transferred their talks onto an Alexa skill, so they’re there for you to listen to in seconds.
They’re perfect for when you get home from a long day and want to learn about something interesting, or expand your knowledge in a certain area, but don’t necessarily want to put effort into it.
If you’re not sure what you want to listen to, TED Talks has you covered there, too, allowing you to ask Alexa to play a random Alexa skill instead.
Mind Blown is an Alexa brain training skill that helps to test and improve your memory through a series of game modes that adapt to different preferences and situations.
If you’ve noticed that your memory is starting to decline, or was never too great to begin with, an Alexa skill like Mind Blown will help you to hone in on the skills that you do have and develop more to help you retain information for longer.
It’s also a great test of time in an age where everyone’s trying to balance a hundred things at once, as this game forces you to focus on one thing at a time if you want to progress forwards.
For that reason, though it may not seem it, we recommend this game for anyone looking to relax of an evening, or to challenge their friends to see who really does have the worst memory.
Health Care Genius
This Alexa skill works by helping users to gain a better understanding of the healthcare field by providing easy to understand explanations of common healthcare related questions.
To utilize this app, all you need to do is enable it in the skills section of your Alexa app and then ask your device, “Alexa, ask Health Care Genius ‘what’s a deductible?’”.
This app is useful for those suffering with chronic illnesses, conditions or diseases who want to find out more about the condition they’re suffering with.
It’s also good for those who have been recently diagnosed with something, or have a one off illness that wasn’t explained well to them, giving them a place they can go to easily access information.