Last week saw Amazon unveil more than a dozen Alexa-enabled products at the company’s Seattle shindig event. In the same week they announced they had acquired a grocery store chain in India for $580 million.
According to Amazon the most important of the newly developed products is Alexa Guard. This means that when you leave your home you simply say, ‘I’m leaving Alexa’ to activate it.
Then, if there are problems during your absence, a potential break-in, a carbon monoxide leak or a smoke alarm or even the sound of breaking glass, Alexa will not only send out smart alerts to you but turn on the house lights in an attempt to thwart any possible intruder. Amazon said the Alexa Guard will be available on Echo devices later this year.
In a similar vein Amazon will introduce a service later this year called Hunches. Hunches means that as Alexa learns about your day-to-day usage it will sense when connected smart devices such as lights, locks, switches and plugs are not in the state that you prefer.
For example, if the living room light is on when you say, ‘Alexa goodnight’, Alexa will respond with ‘Good night. By the way, your living room light is on. Do you want me to turn it off?’
Headlines were made recently following the announcement of the sixty-dollar microwave under the Amazon Basic brand. It includes dozens of quick-cook voice pre-sets, so you can cook just by asking Alexa. The microwave will also include a built-in Ask Alexa button that you can press and say commands such as ‘two minutes and 30 seconds on medium’ to speed up the process of heating food.
Music lovers can finally heave a sigh of relief as Echo gets an overhaul including improving significantly the bass levels. Echo Sub, when paired together with an Echo or Echo Plus, will fill out the low-end, making the music sound much fuller and richer.
Amazon continues to make in-roads into the connected-car market with its new Echo Auto. This was described as an ‘in-car device that will come with a dash mount and is built on a new operating system from Amazon.’ This followed the introduction, earlier in the year, of an open source release of the Alexa Automotive Core that enables automakers to integrate Alexa voice control into a car’s infotainment system.
The eCommerce giant has been making strong inroads into the connected home, indeed it is central to their corporate strategy, taking on companies like Sonos and GE in the home appliances sector. This included acquiring companies such as the doorbell maker Ring for $1billion in February.
Image: Mike Licht