The technology company announced the new features of Alexa, with which it seeks to get rid of its competitors from Google and Apple.
An artificial intelligence capable not only of thawing a steak but also of having intuitions? The giant Amazon revealed a series of innovations for its voice assistant Alexa with which it seeks to make it more essential in everyday life.
The connected Echo speaker can, for example, communicate with the brand’s new microwave oven, presented on Thursday during a life-size demonstration of the new possibilities, made to the public from a fictional home in Seattle, in the western United States.
However, when a journalist asks you to add 30 seconds of cooking time to an ear of corn, the smart speaker, after “thinking” it … plays songs of the American rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars.
Beyond some entanglements, the ambition of Amazon is the first to give the “turn to the smart home”, said David Limp, one of the executives of the brand that until now dominates the market of connected speakers.
According to consultancy eMarketer, cited by Bloomberg , in 2018 about two-thirds of users of connected speakers in the US will use Echo. Google Home, its great competitor along with Apple, will seduce no more than 30% of users.
Alexa can, for example, take care of the security of the house: its owner will receive a notice if a window is broken, and will alert him in case of poisoning with smoke or carbon dioxide.
The “intuitions” of Alexa
The US group, initially a simple online bookstore that has become a multi-million dollar company in the stock market, also presented an innovation called Alexa Hunches (the intuitions of Alexa), which analyzes everyday gestures and alerts in case of changes.
Thus, it may happen that one says good night to Alexa, and when she hears him answer: “The light on the porch has been left on, should it go out?”
Amazon even works to give Alexa a “personality” by attributing “likes” to it, for example, about a beer brand or a pet.
In addition, the hearing of the voice assistant also becomes more sensitive and, in the future, will be able to understand whispers. And answer quietly.
Amazon is clearly betting on an exponential development of voice assistants, whose sales remain well below those of smartphones and whose uses are still limited.
Although more than 70% of people who have connected speakers in the US use it daily, according to a study published by AppDynamics, mainly to know the weather or as GPS. Secondly, they use it to choose and listen to music, and to turn the light on or off.
In view of the fact that the intelligent home tools developed by the main brands will represent a market of $ 96,000 million in the United States in 2018 -40% in the United States-, Amazon also announced the launch of the “frustration-free configuration” platform.
This platform will make it easier for each manufacturer of connected accessories to easily communicate with Alexa. It is a strategic element to reinforce the already dominant weight of Amazon in this area.
“It will not happen overnight,” said David Limp. “But we imagine a future with thousands of these devices in each home, it will be absolutely essential.”
“Amazon ads are a stark reminder to Apple and Google that Alexa has gained a huge advantage and is working hard to make the most of it,” said Geoff Blader, vice president of market analysis firm CCS Insight.
But this worries a little more those who fear an uncontrollable technological invasion in their daily lives.
Many users complained about the untimely laughter of Alexa, forcing Amazon to reconfigure the programming.
Cases of connected speakers that have recorded their owners without their knowledge have also been reported regularly.