Amazon Echo Is The Dumbest Smart Home Device


Amazon’s Echo smart home device is a perfectly good product, but it’s not the future of AI. It’s an attempt at a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist yet. And it’s not even close to being ready for prime time.

Amazon Echo is the dumbest smart home device.

You know what Amazon Echo is. You’ve probably seen it in your friend’s house and thought, “Hey, that looks cool.” It’s a smart speaker with an always-on microphone that lets you ask questions, set timers and alarms, control smart home devices like lights and thermostats (with more functionality coming soon), and play music from Spotify or Pandora. But Alexa isn’t really a “smart” device; she’s just a dumb assistant–and more importantly, she doesn’t have any idea what you’re talking about most of the time.

So why would anyone want an Amazon Echo? Well for one thing: it’s really easy to use! All you need is Wi-Fi connectivity and an app on your phone (or computer) so that when we say something like “Alexa turn off my lights” or “get me directions home,” our voice commands are sent through those devices instead of directly into our ears via Bluetooth.

How does it work?

Alexa is the AI behind Echo. She’s always listening, and she’s always connected to the internet. That means you can use your voice to order food, play music and more–all with a simple command like “Alexa.”

When it comes to smart home devices that are compatible with Alexa (like Philips Hue lights), you’ll need an Amazon account in order for them work properly.

What can I do with it?

As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do with your Echo. But the real question is: why would you want to?

The answer is simple: convenience. The Alexa Skills Kit lets developers create apps that work with Amazon’s voice assistant and integrate seamlessly into your home life, so you don’t have to lift a finger when it comes time for chores or other menial tasks. Want your lights turned on when it gets dark outside? Just ask Alexa! Need someone else in the house (or just yourself) not feeling well enough yet after being out all night at an event and needs some medicine before bedtime? Just say “Alexa, give me some ibuprofen.”

The Echo’s voice command interface is sort of terrible.

The voice command interface is sort of terrible.

It’s hard to use, and it doesn’t work well. The Echo has a limited number of commands, so you’ll have to remember them all if you want to use the device efficiently. It’s not intuitive or natural–you have to learn what each command means before using it. And even then, sometimes your request will still get misinterpreted! All in all, this makes it not very efficient as a smart home device because there are too many steps involved with getting anything done (or not done).

Amazon has a lot of data, but it’s not really using it in a smart way.

Amazon has a lot of data, but it’s not really using it in a smart way.

Amazon is a huge company and has access to an enormous amount of information about its customers. It also has the opportunity to use that data in ways that other companies can’t because of its dominance in e-commerce and cloud computing. But Amazon is still playing catch up when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), making the most out of this information hasn’t been easy for them yet–and their recent acquisition of Ring could be an example why: The smart doorbell maker has been working on facial recognition technology for years now, which means that any new hires from Ring would need training before they could contribute anything meaningful toward improving Alexa’s capabilities as an assistant or voice interface for consumers’ homes

A bigger problem is that Alexa doesn’t really seem to understand context or follow through on commands.

A bigger problem is that Alexa doesn’t really seem to understand context or follow through on commands. For example, when I ask her to play a song by The Black Keys and then say “next,” she just plays the next song in my library instead of playing another one by them (or any artist at all). Or if I ask her for the weather in Los Angeles, she’ll give me an overview of what’s going on there–but if I want specifics about tomorrow’s forecast or humidity levels, she won’t budge from her initial answer unless I ask again later in the day when those conditions change significantly enough for her algorithm to register them as new information worthy of updating its response based on new data points collected since our last conversation took place.

It’s also worth noting that while many voice assistants like Siri do offer some type of personalization options related specifically toward helping users find things like favorite restaurants nearby which may prove useful depending upon where you live…these features aren’t available yet on Amazon Echo devices because they rely heavily upon GPS tracking capabilities within mobile phones rather than having access only via WiFi networks alone without being able to pinpoint exactly where someone might be standing at any given time (which would require additional hardware).

The company also needs to get better at making its products work together, instead of locking them out from each other.

Amazon is trying to be the go-to platform for smart home devices, but it hasn’t gotten there yet. The company has a lot of data about its customers, but it’s not really using that information in a smart way. For example: if you have an Echo or another Alexa device and an Apple TV, you can’t use them together because Amazon doesn’t allow third-party apps on Apple TV.

This means that if you want your Echo to play music through your TV or show you the weather forecast onscreen when prompted by your voice command (a feature called “skills”), then those experiences will be inferior compared to other platforms where developers can build these skills more easily and in more ways than just through voice control alone (like Siri).

Amazon Echo is supposed to be your AI-assistant for your smart home, but right now it feels more like an entryway into the world of IoT than anything else.

Amazon Echo is supposed to be your AI-assistant for your smart home, but right now it feels more like an entryway into the world of IoT than anything else.

The Amazon Echo was announced in late 2014 and released in 2015 as a cylindrical speaker with far-field voice recognition technology that could respond to voice commands given by its owner. It’s powered by Alexa–a cloud-based service that processes speech input and executes corresponding actions on behalf of users (e.g., ordering items from Amazon).


The Echo is not a bad product, but it’s not good enough to be the center of your smart home. Amazon has a lot of data about how people use their devices and where they fail–it just needs to use that information more wisely next time around.