Echo Dots Available For Listeners to Try OutEcho Dot

Sheffield Talking News has five Echo Dots to offer to listeners to try out on our behalf. Echo Dots are small, compact smart speakers provided by Amazon that work with its Alexa voice assistant system. We want to know about listeners’ experiences of using these handy devices.

If you don’t know about them, smart speakers (also known as voice assistants) allow you to control what you listen to entirely by voice command. So for example simply by saying, ‘Alexa, open My Talking Newspaper’ the Echo Dot will steer you to the latest edition of Sheffield Talking News. Similarly, you can listen to the Talk About magazine or editions of ‘Out and About’ in Sheffield, as well as dipping into a whole wealth of other great audio material freely available on the internet.

The arrangement is that we will provide you with the Echo Dot. To use it you will need WiFi with an internet connection in your home and it will be your responsibility to set up the Echo device. For this you will need a mobile
phone with the Alexa app installed. If this sounds a bit daunting you may have a friendly neighbour or a relative who can do it for you. It’s quite a straightforward operation and you can scroll down this page for instructions on how to do it.

Once set-up we hope you will be explore the world Alexa opens up for you, including listening to Sheffield Talking News. After a few weeks we will contact you to ask about your experience of using the Echo Dot, and we would like to audio record your reactions, positive as well as negative. Using the feedback from those on the trial, as well as from existing Alexa users, we plan to produce an item that other listeners of Sheffield Talking News can hear. By doing this we hope to encourage more people to use these devices that we believe are ideally suited to those with visual impairment.

If after the trial you do not wish to keep the Echo Dot we will take it from you and you will not have incurred any cost. But if you wish to keep the unit then we will sell it to you for £20.00. The Echo Dot currently sells for £49.99 on Amazon. There are offers from time to time but none of them are likely to undercut £20.
Guide to Getting Started with the Echo Dot

Setting Up
There is plenty of guidance on the internet for setting up Echo devices. This is the guide provided by Amazon. You will need the Alexa app on a smart phone which is available free of charge from Play Store, App Store or direct from Amazon. Once set up, and if you are new to Alexa, Amazon provides a guide to things you can ask Alexa. It also provides more information you can use once you become more familiar with the system. Saying “Alexa stop” always stops Alexa and prepares it for a new command.

Enabling ‘My Talking Newspaper’

On Echo devices, the equivalent of an app is called a ‘skill’. The skill you will need for listening to any talking newspaper is called ‘My Talking Newspaper’. You will need to enable the skill by saying, “Alexa, enable My Talking Newspaper’. Then follow the simple instructions that will guide you to Sheffield Talking News where you can listen to the latest edition of the news, the latest Talk About Magazine, all of the Out and About in Sheffield items, or the Sheffield Theatres Brochure. When you have finished with Alexa say, “Alexa stop” and you can walk away.

Navigating ‘My Talking Newspaper’

When you return to Alexa having enabled ‘My Talking Newspaper’ say, “Alexa, open My Talking newspaper” and follow the instructions to get to Sheffield Talking News, or any other talking newspaper that is available on the platform. When its playing saying “Alexa skip” will take you to the next track; saying “Alexa back” will take you to the previous track. Amazon provides these details about the ‘My Talking Newspaper ‘skill.

Further Support See may also be interested in this article by Gear Brain.