Voice control has become such an integral part of smart homes, it’s not remotely surprising they come fully to the fore when it’s time for those festive parties throughout the holidays. While Siri and Google Assistant each have their own strengths, it’s Amazon’s Alexa that perhaps best exemplifies the virtual butler. And while as recently as 2014 when Joaquin Phoenix’s character in Her
fell in love with his Alexa-esque digital assistant the concept of voice control seemed more sci-fi than everyday reality, in 2018 it’s completely commonplace. So we’ll give you a quick glimpse today at how you can harness voice control at your holiday party assuming you have a connected home and an Echo device. We’ll keep things simple and look at 3 areas key to the success of any decent party:
Use voice control for these basics and you can spend more time mingling with your guests and less time performing tedious hosting tasks you can hand over to Alexa instead.
Music is less of a sticking point at parties than it used to be when your parents were your age. There’s no need to constantly change records, no worry about running through the contents of your record collection before the night is properly underway. On a basic level, you can set up a laptop and create playlists to suit everyone or allow guests the freedom to take charge and fire up whatever tunes take their fancy by heading over to the laptop or using their phone to connect to your Bluetooth speakers
. The problem with this approach is too much downtime and silence as people quarrel over who’s up next then take an eternity to find that Spotify playlist they can’t wait to share. So how about letting Alexa do all the hard work instead? If you’ve got a smaller and more intimate gathering with pretty mainstream tastes along with an Amazon Prime membership, asking your virtual butler to “Play Christmas music” is enough to get a solid selection of standard Christmas tunes with no effort on your part. Make sure you’ve enabled the Christmas radio skill
in advance and you’re all set. For a larger party with guests hankering for more than Band-Aid or Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer through a small smart speaker, use your dedicated sound system along with Spotify, Pandora, or your streaming station of preference and take charge using voice commands rather than selecting music manually. If you’re going for less festive music but you don’t want to forego the holiday atmosphere completely, enable the Christmas sounds skill
and let those jingles sing out until you command Alexa to stop. By sticking to Amazon music, you can also be more specific and ask some pretty pointed questions such as “Play me that Jay-Z track I listened to last week” and you’ll be served up with exactly what you want. When it comes to voice control of your music at your holiday party, imagination is your only limitation so get creative and put Alexa through her paces. You’ll be amazed at how adept a DJ she is as we edge toward 2019.
With Philips Hue smart lights
, you can make sure the lighting reflects the mood of the party as the night progresses. You can get each of your smart to travel through varying shades of white and a huge palette of colors to get that party started without constantly hitting switches or reaching for your smartphone. If you’re listening to music or you’ve got a movie playing in the background, you can also get your lighting reacting to the rhythm. Just bag a third-party app
and start experimenting in advance so when that special evening arrives, you can wow your guests with what looks like an impromptu party trick. For any If This, Then That converts among you, command Alexa to get the party started and put your lights on a colored loop
. If you have a more robust connected home with Alexa and a hub in place, why not consider some light strips? Sylvania offers you a great choice of indoor and outdoor accent lighting you can use to great effect and allow Alexa to take control of so all you need to do is bark your commands while you’re sipping a cocktail with your feet up. Another choice option is to go for some kind of disco ball LEDs that’s WiFi and Alexa-enabled so you can inject a bit of fun into your party lighting with nothing more than voice commands.
No party would be complete without good food and again you can take advantage of voice control in ways that might not appear immediately obvious. The most standard way to use your digital assistant for help with catering is to simply get her to order up some pizza from Domino’s or Pizza Hut without fumbling for menus or calling in the order yourself. If you’re a regular user of Amazon Restaurants – think Uber Eats – then you can ask Alexa to call up your previous orders. Sadly, this is limited to certain US cities only and you will need a Prime membership. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that it’s hot enough at Christmas, a Lynx smart grill
allows you to control your cooking from afar so you can enjoy the holiday party without fussing too much over the food. The ability to use voice commands makes for an extra party trick that’s sure to leave people talking long after the hangovers have worn off.
These are just a few ways in which you can bring your trusty digital assistant out to play over the festive period so you can focus on giving your guests the time of their lives. Drop us a line if you’ve got any other creative ideas for getting the most out of Alexa and come back soon as we’re warming up for an onslaught of handy hints to make your holiday season go down with a bang.