Amazon Echo (the voice interface speaker) and Alexa (the voice recognition platform behind Echo) are making their way into the mainstream market by becoming a versatile platform (‘interface feature’ for consumers) available everywhere in rapid speed.
But the most important name in the smart home is the one you’re least likely to find plastered inside the cavernous halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center: Alexa.
The name corresponds to Amazon’s cloud-based voice assistant, which began as the personal assistant inside the online shopping company’s Echo speaker that went on sale to the public in June. Over the course of a few months, however, Alexa has moved beyond Echo and into a host of third-party devices, in part thanks to Amazon’s $100 million Alexa Fund, which helps other companies incorporate the software into their products.
Now those investments are bearing fruit. At CES 2016, Amazon is a stealth attendee. Without a booth or logo in sight, Alexa is weaving its way into third-party products here as varied as home security cameras, lighting systems, and Ford vehicles.
Why the sudden the movement for third-party Alexa adoption? Simply put, Amazon is providing all of the tools to make it easy and free for developers and device makers.
It doesn’t hurt that Alexa is quite good at hearing and responding to requests, either. There’s no need for a company to spend tons of R&D to develop its own speech-recognition system that taps into the cloud when Amazon provides a more than serviceable option.
And while we’re hearing all about gesture controls as well as AR and VR as interfaces at CES, speech – when done right – may be the best interface of all when it comes to the smarthome.
Alexa is Amazon’s stealth hit.
More on Amazon’s Echo/Alexa platform:
- Codename “Fox”: Will Amazon’s Coming Portable Version of Echo Be Like a Smartphone?
- Why Ford and Others Are Going to Integrate Amazon Echo/Alexa
- Echo is just like a store for Amazon & third-party retailers help spreading it now
- Amazon Echo keeps adding functionalities, becoming a strong platform
- Amazon doubling down on hardware, talks about it endlessly in earnings release
- Amazon’s Alexa Fund Invests in Smart Home Communication Device Triby