As many of you I am sure know by now I am heavily entrenched in the Amazon Echo ecosystem, having them in every room of the house and using them almost constantly. What you may not know however is I am kind of a weather junkie. Whenever a new weather app becomes available on my Samsung Galaxy S8 I quickly download it and give it a shot. I even have my own personal weather station consisting of a Netatmo Weather Station, a Netatmo Smart Rain Gauge and a Netatmo Smart Wind Gauge. Over the years I have tired countless Weather Apps on my phone but ultimately always go back to DarkSky because of the granularity it provides. Well now we can finally get that same level of granularity on our Amazon Echo with Big Sky and I could not be more excited.
Like most people one of the most common questions I ask my Amazon Echo is what is the weather and I have often been disappointed by the seemingly generic response. I recently started using the Big Sky Skill however which brings the weather information out of the stone age and makes it on par with the information I can get from my phone using DarkSky. Big Sky used the DarkSky API to get hyperlocal and updated weather information and deliver it though your Amazon Echo plus you can opt to get weather alerts issues by the National Weather Service through your Amazon Echo automatically, how cool (and useful) is that?
Big Sky is available in both a free and a paid subscription service and for most people the free version will do everything you need. The paid subscription to Big Sky however gives you a very neat feature however, you can add additional forecast locations and assign custom names to them so if you are often on the run to visit family or friends this could be helpful. Having an almost three-year-old I need this, so I can ask “Will it rain at Grandpa’s campground tomorrow?” or What is the weather at Auntie’s pool?” Really the premium subscription is kind of a no brainer as it only cost $2.99 per year ($2.40 for Amazon Prime Members) so it’s not like we are talking about a lot of money here. In a smart move Big Sky comes with a one-week free trial of Premium Service so I think you will get hooked and continue it.
The only thing I do not like about Big Sky is that it is yet another skill that I need to remember the name of as it needs to be launched by name. To get the weather you must tell Alexa to use Big Sky every time you ask about the weather. Now I know this is an Amazon issue as there should be a way to set a default “weather” service skill and use it just like the native one, but you can’t and shame on Amazon for that as in my opinion it takes away from not only the Big Sky Skill but many others.
Ultimately if you like your weather information to have substance I would highly recommend you check out the Big Sky Skill for your Amazon Echo. Anyone using the Big Sky Skill? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.