WITHOUT ANY ASSISTANCE (and without being prompted), Dylan (7) just called my mobile phone in Ireland by asking our Amazon Echo Dot in the kitchen. I didn't think Irish phone numbers were configured for that service.
But after a little cross-check, I realised the voice call was simply a five star VOIP service tucked inside my handset's Amazon Alexa app. This means anyone with an Amazon Echo device who has me in their contact list can ring my mobile phone. I'm fascinated by the quality of the call and the natural language that makes all of this so simple.
I'm now considering the purchase of an Amazon Echo Show  so we can have easy video calling from our kitchen to mobile handsets used by our extended family eight time zones away.
Our under-10s have grown up with Skype, Facetime, Hangouts and Zoom video calls. They recognise the apps that power each of those platforms and they know how to flip the camera, mute the microphone and where to find the earbuds for a quieter conversation. So as teens, they will have a full complement of video conferencing if we stump up for Amazon's Echo Show.
The Echo Show answers questions better. You're not constrained to a few words in Alexa's vocabulary. We could get a visual five day weather forecast. I could see several screens of information when asking for a recipe. Our #singsongsaturday sessions would improve because song lyrics scroll by as tracks play. I'm sure I could figure out how to ask for CNN or Morning Joe videos as part of my Flash Briefing. And my kids would improve their verbal search skills through voice-enabled YouTube search. 
I've been thinking about the number of coffee shop visits I need to forego so I can have the coins pile up for an initial purchase of an Echo Show (51). That's five months away from Starbucks and I don't know if I can do it. I'm already paying for Amazon’s Prime Video service, so it's a shame I can't enjoy those shows on the Show's lovely touchscreen.
In the meantime, I'm amused at how my primary school children leverage their spoken search skills. I captured two minutes of Dylan asking a series of questions to Alexa and shared them as a Spreaker clip below. 
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business in the Limerick Institute of Technology.]