Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa doesn’t come for free as many of us think. Imagine a device that is plugged in always and waiting for your commands to complete tasks. This will come with a price that need not be as cost-effective as it should be. Alexa is constantly on a listening mode to charge up once the wake word is voiced. That waiting, standby mode increases our energy bills whether we like it or not.
Further reading: Does Alexa Work Without Being Plugged In
What Can Alexa Accomplish?
Alexa is not unfamiliar to many modern households. She is there to lend a helping hand for whatever tasks you want to accomplish at home. Alexa plays music, updates you on the latest news, tells you the weather, and even controls the smart devices at your place. She fetches the right data that is precise to the moment.
One of the most popular functions of Alexa is playing music, and she can connect with many streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and of course, Amazon Music. All the Amazon devices can retrieve information when you give voice commands to Alexa.
The smart Echo speakers can only stream audio, but devices like the Echo Show display video content, making it more attractive to users. Alexa has Alexa skills that can get information from other services and devices. These skills are like apps and can be enabled or disabled using the Alexa app or web browser.
Energy Consumption Of Smart Devices
Recent reports say that using Alexa to switch on your TV or other devices would mean more power than the device usually uses. There is an array of Amazon devices that work with Alexa, which can be true for all these devices. The energy efficiency of smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo is to be analyzed to know how much electricity is used by the voice assistant Alexa.
It is a fact that smart speakers are very efficient when saving energy. Whether in standby mode or active use, these devices consume only a few watts. For example, Amazon Echo consumes about 15.2 kWh annually, meaning your annual energy bill will be less than $2. Isn’t that such a small and affordable amount?
Connecting Smart Speakers To TVs
Now you know that smart speakers are brilliant in performance and saving energy as well. Things change when you connect these speakers with your smart TV to control it with Alexa. When you give voice commands to Alexa to work with the TV, it is found that the TV consumes more power than usual.
A TV typically consumes 106 kWh in an average year, making $12 per year. But if it is connected to a smart speaker, it often goes to standby mode continuously listening to voice commands. While some TVs consume less energy than a single watt in standby mode, this figure may go up to 20 watts for some models.
This makes the power consumption about 248 kWh per year, costing you around $30. This doubles the energy usage and also the cost.
This is a shout-out to the TV manufacturers to take things seriously and find a solution for this. It is high time TVs with low power consumption in standby mode are designed so that using Alexa will no longer induce a pang of guilt feeling in users.
Some users even have a number of smart devices kept on standby mode listening for voice commands. This will increase the power consumption manifold, and the bills skyrocket as well.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use my Echo Dot without plugging it in?
You can use a battery to make the Echo Dot work continuously for more than six hours without plugging in. There is a power adapter to recharge, and this is designed to do not damage the battery.
Does it cost money to run Alexa?
No, you don’t have to pay a monthly or annual fee to keep using Alexa. If you have the Amazon Alexa app, you can give voice commands to Alexa to get things done. The Alexa skills come for free, and these come in handy for many useful things. But there are some premium features like the streaming services you have to pay for.
Do I need a Prime account to use Alexa?
Using Alexa is possible if you have an Amazon account, having Amazon Prime is not a prerequisite to using Alexa. You can just sign in to the Alexa app and add the device you want to connect to the account. The best thing is that you can link any number of devices to the account, from smart speakers and soundbars to smart lights and smart plugs.
Does Alexa have a monthly fee?
There is no monthly fee charged for Alexa. You need a stable Wi-Fi connection so that Alexa can keep waiting to hear the wake word. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you will get added benefits of using smart speakers like Echo.
Does Alexa always need Wi-Fi?
Alexa cannot function properly without stable Wi-Fi. When a user gives voice requests, the audio recording of the same is sent to Amazon’s cloud through the Wi-Fi connection at your place. The request is processed in the cloud, and the response is again sent back to your device over the same Wi-Fi. So now Alexa has got the accurate answer for your request, which she will use to answer you or fulfill the request.
It is perfectly fine to pay bills for things that we use regularly. But what about Alexa-enabled devices that sit idle most time of the day and still cost you a considerable amount of money? While opinions may vary, it would make many users happy if this unnecessary cost was managed in an optimum way.