With Alexa Skills, you can turn your Amazon Echo from humble smart speaker to the cornerstone of your connected life. Here's how...

If you’ve got an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot and you’ve not added any Alexa ‘Skills’ – the little applets that add extra functionality – you’re wasting all that amazing tech! There are now over 10,000 Skills available to add, all for free, and they can do all manner of crazy things – from transforming your house into a smart home, to making it so you need never lift a finger again. And now, with the all new Vodafone Skill, you can even ask us questions!

As with anything where there’s such an abundance of choice, however (we’re looking at you, app stores), it can be tricky to know where to start. That’s why we’ve trawled through the Skill library on Amazon to pick out a few of our absolute favourites.

 

Questions will always need to start with “Alexa (to trigger Alexa to listen), ask Vodafone” (to invoke the Vodafone skill), followed by one of the questions below:

FAQs:
How do I setup my phone up for the internet?
How can I top up my phone?
How can I enable or disable data roaming?
How can I check my balance?
How do I cancel my Pay monthly contract?
How do I switch off content control on my mobile device?
Why can’t I log in to My Vodafone?
How do I use my rewards points and claim my reward?
How do I set up or activate my SIM?
How do I check my voicemail?
What is my phone number?
How do I check, how many reward points I have?
How do I start a Web Chat in the My Vodafone App?
How do I buy a data pack?
How can I buy Big Value Bundle?
What ís included in my allowance of UK minutes and texts?
How do I pay my phone bill?
How do I set up Wi-Fi Calling?
How do I transfer photos, contacts, music and videos from my old phone to my new phone?
My phone has no signal. What should I do?
When/how can I upgrade my Pay monthly phone contract?
How do I reset my Voicemail PIN?
Account queries:
How much is my bill?
When is my bill due?
Why is my bill less than last month?
Why is my bill more than last month?
What is my (data/SMS/voice) usage?
What is my (data/SMS/voice) allowance?
Can I upgrade?

Use it for: Calling a cab
Uber
Booking a cab? With the Uber Skill connected to your account, all you need to do is holler: ‘Alexa, call me an Uber’, and she’ll duly hook you up to your nearest driver, who’ll be at your doorstep in minutes (pending availability, of course).
Use it for: Your morning news
BBC News
There are umpteen news app Skills you can use to get your ‘Flash Briefing’ from Alexa – and they’re all great – but the Beeb’s gets a spot on this list simply for being the Beeb; it should ensure your morning is free from hyperbole.
Use it for: Controlling the lights
Hue
For this to work you’ll need some Philips Hue lights, which connect to your Wi-Fi network and are usually controlled by an app on your phone. With Alexa integration, though, you can simply ask to turn the lights on, have them dimmed, or turn them off entirely once Game of Thrones starts.
Use it for: Turning appliances on or off
Wemo
Similarly, a set of Belkin Wemo plugs will let you turn specific appliances around the house on or off with your voice by adding the Wemo Skill. Plug in things like fans, radios or TVs to live a life of constant ease.
Use it for: Finding your phone
Trackr
If you’re forever misplacing your smartphone around the house, the Trackr Skill can help. You’ll need to install it on your phone and create an account, but once everything’s all hooked up you’ll be able to ask Alexa to find your missing mobile, at which point she’ll make it ring loudly from underneath whichever cushion it’s currently lurking.
Use it for: Watching your media
Plex
Plex lets you store, organise and beautify all your movies, TV shows and other media, ready for playback on a range of devices – from smart TVs, to phones, to games consoles. Better still, with the Plex Alexa Skill you won’t even need to browse your library anymore; you can simply ask her to play something specific for you.
Use it for: Streaming tunes
Spotify
Music lover? If you’ve got got a Red Entertainment plan with us, chances are you’re enjoying some Spotify Premium action at no extra cost. By linking your Spotify account to your Alexa app in the settings, you can play songs or playlists through your Echo, just by asking.
Use it for: Getting some shuteye
Sleep and Relaxation Sounds
Struggling to sleep? Plug in this soothing Skill to unlock a world of natural, relaxing soundscapes to help you drift off to into the land of nod – without having to blind yourself by scrolling through a smartphone app in the middle of the night.
Use it for: Loads and loads of things
IFTTT
This isn’t so much an Alexa skill as it is a pandora’s box of possibilities. With If This Then That’s Alexa integration you can create ‘recipes’ that link Alexa to almost anything, letting you do things like automatically add your to-dos to another app, create a running spreadsheets of the songs you listen to, or even lock the doors at night.
Use it for: Finding more skills, funnily enough
Skill Finder
Need even more skills? Skill Finder will offer up a new one every day from the oodles out there, helping surface the risers, movers and shakers. It’s a must for eking more from your Echo.

 

Improving your experience… Our evolving Alexa offering is part of a huge wave of improvements we’re making across the board when it comes to your online customer experience. Click here to find out more.