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I’ve just bought an Amazon Echo Dot. It was on sale, it wasn’t expensive and I wanted to see what it could do.
So far I’ve managed to get it to pair it with my Sonos speakers (but haven’t managed to get to to play anything other than Amazon Music) and I’ve managed to pair it with with my TV (but it refuses to control it) so you could say that my Amazon Alexa experiment is a work in progress – I’m still not sure just how useful it is.
Still, Air France clearly thinks that Amazon’s “virtual voice assistant” has something going for it as we’ll all soon be able to ask Alexa about a variety of things surrounding Air France.
Air France says that, from 13 June 2018, flyers with access to an Amazon Alexa enabled device will be able to download the “Air France Skill” for Alexa, activate it and then interrogate Alexa with questions ranging from the status of a flight to which services are available on board.
Here are some examples of questions we’ll be able to pose to Alexa that Air France has suggested:
- “Alexa, ask Air France for the status of my flight to Tokyo”
- “Alexa, ask Air France what time flight AF008 takes off”
- “Alexa, ask Air France from which terminal flight AF1234 leaves”
- “Alexa, ask Air France if there is Wi-Fi on board flight AF348”
I’m not sure how Alexa or Air France are meant to know what flight someone is talking about when they ask about “the status of my flight to Tokyo” as there’s no mention of how a user can link their Air France account to Alexa…but presumably this is something one can do.
I like the idea of being able to ask Alexa to check if there’s wi-fi onboard and I like the idea of being able to check what terminal a given flight departs from as both could be time savers.
Sure, all this information could be found online but, assuming this works well, asking a question out loud and getting an instant response is definitely going to be quicker than accessing the information on your phone/laptop/tablet/desktop.
One issue I know I’ll have with this kind of interaction with a virtual voice is that I won’t trust the information the first few times I’m given it. I know that I’ll feel the need to go online and check a couple of different sources to reassure myself that the voice in my living room is actually accessing up-to-date information (a recent experience with the Tripit Pro app has left me very sceptical of information provided to me by a 3rd party).
That really defeats the whole point of the exercise.
Still, after Alexa has proved itself a few times I’m sure I’d relax a bit and not be quite so neurotic about checking what I’m being told. Perhaps then I’d finally have a working use for the hockey puck shaped device I’m staring at right now…because right now I’m not sure that I do.
Anyone know of any other airlines that are integrated into Amazon Alexa?