Amazon Alexa suffers capacity problems as new users sign up on Christmas Day

By Dan Wilson January 3, 2019 - 10:03 am

New and existing users of Amazon Alexa voice activated virtual assistant on Christmas “Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding you right now.”

This is a message that usually sounds accompanied by a red flashing light and typically indicates a problem with the device’s internet connect. However, on Christmas day, the message came with a blue light and that usually indicates that all is well and operational.

And as this Tamebay editor can attest, as a user who has been using Alexa via several devices for more than a year or so, it wasn’t just new users who were experiencing problems. Although it will have been a particularly poor introductory experience for the who received Echo devices in their stockings, the difficulties were network wide and existing users also found Alexa unable to help them perform basic tasks such as play music or perform simple skills.

On a personal level the most annoying aspect was assuming that the set up or internet connection was at fault and spending time to check that out. It wasn’t the problem.

I didn’t think to check the Amazon customer support Twitter account which said:

It is worth asking the question as to whether Amazon Alexa could have been more forthcoming directly during the problems through the echo device. Whether Dot or Echo, there is an opportunity when given a command to give more information that a generic: “Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding you right now.”

It is also worth noting that this represents the first time that we have reported on Tamebay an outage or widespread problem with the Alexa network. Indeed, it is seldom that we write about Amazon tech glitches or outage and, when they have happened, we have typically congratulated the Seattle based behemoth for superior and honest communications to users that come through quickly.

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