How to enable Alexa Whisper Mode and Hunches

Saturday, October 20, 2018

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Amazon just released a brand new feature to the Echo devices running Alexa.  Whisper mode.  When enabled, if you whisper something to Alexa, she will whisper the responses back to you.  This is super useful for late night queries or turning off lights via Alexa at night when everyone is sleeping.  Note that Whisper mode will not yet work with custom responses (blueprints).  To enable whisper mode, you can either ask Alexa – ‘Alexa, enable Whisper Mode’ or you can go to you Alexa app and enable it from settings.   When enabled she will whisper pretty much everything back and also maintain the whisper voice during follow-up conversations. Whisper mode is pretty amazing behind the scenes and uses one of Amazon’s new AI neural networks to analyze speech patterns to see if a person is whispering.  Future versions will be able to tell if you are sick (and possibly recommend buying cough drops or medicine) as well as moods and inflection. (Sarcasm anyone?)

With the new whisper feature, I might turn off the brief mode which replaces the short ‘ok’ with a brief beep.  I had originally enabled this to silence her late night outbursts. ;)

Speaking of AI and new features, there was another one that snuck into the release as well.  This one is called Hunches.  Hunches when enabled will use machine learning to analyze patterns in your smart home activity to suggest things that you might want done.  If Amazon realizes that you normally turn on the kitchen lights when launching your Flash briefing, Hunches might have her suggest it when you ask to play the Flash briefing.  Additionally, this could be rolled into a routine that would then just happen automagically.

The feature I am still waiting for and was announced in September is Guard Mode.  This feature builds on the same Neural network that powers Whisper awareness to also have your echoes listen for Breaking Glass and sirens when you are not home.  If heard and understood, it would notify you via push message to you mobile that an event might be happening at your home.  Paired with ADT and police could be dispatched.  Pretty amazing stuff.

You can check out a video I made of Whisper mode in action below:

Happy Automating!

- CARLO

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