If you have ever wondered what is all the fuss about Amazon Echo and other related devices powered by a Siri-like voice assistant called Alexa, you can now test and see it in action yourselves without buying any of the devices. Amazon has launched a website called Echosim.io which acts as a simulator of Echo device powered by Alexa.
On the website, users can log in with their Amazon accounts and start asking questions from Alexa by clicking and holding the mic button. Yeah as simple as that!
In a blog post announcing Echosim.io, Glenn Cameron introduces it as an online tool built by the community and for the community. The idea of Echosim.io was originated from a project called Alexa in the Browser done by a Nexmo developer advocate Sam Machin at a hackathon in 2015.
Echosim.io is basically aimed towards developers who want to experience Alexa and do not have any Alexa enabled devices. Cameron writes in the blog post,
“Echosim.io lives in your browser, so anyone, anywhere can access it and test their Alexa skills. You no longer need an Alexa-enabled device to test your skills. Developers worldwide can use Echosim.io to experience Alexa. Its simplicity makes it easy for anyone to understand what an Echo is and what it does without having to explain Alexa’s unique UX.”
For those unaware with actual Echo devices and Alexa, Echo is essentially a wireless speaker which you can control with your voice. Powered by seven microphones and beam forming technology, Echo enables you to experience 360° immersive sound.
And the magic word to bring Echo to life and do your bidding is “Alexa” (you can also change it to Amazon or Echo). The device is connected to the AI based voice service Alexa which is built in the cloud and is always getting smarter and personalized the more you use it.
What makes Echo truly stand apart from other wireless speakers is the integration with third-party apps such as Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio and you can play any of these services through your voice commands to Alexa.
Moreover, Echo is also Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream other popular music services like iTunes from your phone or tablet.
However, Alexa does not just play music through Echo- it can also provide you with a diverse range of information such as news, sports scores, weather, etc. You can even order a pizza, book an Uber ride, play audio books, search for movie timings, and a lot of other things through Echo and Alexa.
Echo also allows you to control your smart home, i.e, you can ask Alexa to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the fan or space heater while reading in your favorite chair, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie.
It works with devices like lights, switches, thermostats, and others made by modern smart device manufacturers such as WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings,etc.