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Amazon Has Big Plans for Alexa in Homes, Cars | Audio/Video

Amazon will unveil eight new Alexa-powered units for the automobile and home earlier than the tip of the 12 months, CNBC reported Monday. They embody a microwave oven, an amplifier, a receiver, a subwoofer and an in-car gadget.

Amazon is predicted to disclose a number of the units at an event later this month.

All the units will join simply to Alexa, and a few will have the voice assistant in-built.

The merchandise mark Amazon’s first transfer into the home home equipment market, an space the place opponents have already staked out their turf.

De Facto Voice Standard

Amazon has teamed up with a variety of home builders, considered one of which, Lennar, earlier this 12 months launched the world’s first WiFi-certified
good home design with built-in automation and Amazon Alexa voice management.

Amazon opened showrooms in Lennar mannequin houses — Amazon Experience Centers — to demo and assist promote its good home units and client electronics companies, similar to streaming Prime Content with Fire TV.

Amazon reportedly has been searching for related offers with different home builders.

Amazon additionally plans to push Alexa into the auto market. Audi confirmed off the e-tron SUV, its first car with Alexa built-in into the console show, at an event earlier this week in San Francisco.

Hyundai has partnered with Amazon on Alexa since 2016. Ford demoed an Alexa-powered in-car system at CES in Las Vegas in 2017. Toyota and BMW additionally have teamed up with Amazon on Alexa.

“If the next big interface is voice, and that looks to be the case, Amazon’s trying to get to critical mass so Alexa becomes the de facto standard,” stated Rob Enderle, principal analyst on the Enderle Group.

Alexa’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Alexa’s strengths are market penetration, ease of use, and comparatively low entry and product costs, Enderle informed TechNewsWorld.

However, it “isn’t as good as Google’s offering, even less so on licensed devices,” he added. “It isn’t true AI yet, which sets an expectation it can’t yet meet, and the products tend to have false starts — responding to TV programs, radio broadcasts or comments not intended for them.”

Alexa has been
affected by false positives — situations when it’s triggered by sounds aside from the wake phrase.

Earlier this 12 months, Alexa made the news when units utilizing it
randomly uttered laughter, spooking some customers.

Still, “smart, interactive speakers have been a huge success and Amazon is far and away the leader in terms of the number of such devices sold,” stated Dough Henschen, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“It’s a smart move for Amazon to capitalize on this popularity by seeking to extend the ecosystem beyond the home,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

“Alexa now boast tens of thousands of skills, but most users of Amazon Echo devices don’t get much beyond simple requests like asking for kitchen timers, and news and weather updates,” Henschen identified.

Offering units with Alexa guarantees “an easy route to smart, connected experiences triggered by simple voice commands,” he stated, in addition to “streamlining, if not elimination of, complicated setups. Anything Amazon can do to create pre-integrated experiences for the customer makes it more likely that Alexa will be used in a wider context.”

Meanwhile, home builder and automobile maker companions “get the cachet of having smart experiences within their [products],” Henschen stated. “It’s a win-win, low-risk proposition for both parties, so long as they can deliver on the promise of an easy experience that’s helpful to the consumer.”

Competition within the Smart Home and Car Markets

Google has been pushing into the linked home and automobile markets, as have Microsoft and Apple. Google and Apple supply smartphones as nicely, which supplies them a ready-made door into good houses and automobiles.

Google and Apple “have the edge of having mobile devices in the hands of hundreds of millions of consumers,” Henschen stated. “Amazon has to act quickly to extend the Alexa ecosystem’s reach within homes and into mobile environments, before [they] solidify their mobile beachheads and push back into home-based interactions.”

That stated, Amazon “is funding at a far higher level and has vastly deeper penetration into these segments,” Enderle noticed. “The irony is that Apple effectively launched this [market], but Amazon’s running away with it at the moment.”

Google “is arguably the biggest threat,” he stated, “but has the attention span of a toddler and massively underfunds efforts like this, giving Amazon free rein.”



Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus embody cybersecurity, cellular applied sciences, CRM, databases, software program growth, mainframe and mid-range computing, and software growth. He has written and edited for quite a few publications, together with Information Week and Computerworld. He is the creator of two books on consumer/server know-how.
Email Richard.

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