The next big platform push from companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon is rumoured to be AI-powered voice assistance.
No company has been more successful in the last year in the space than Amazon, with the powerful and versatile Amazon Echo. Earlier this year, Amazon released two new Alexa-powered products, the Echo Dot and the Amazon Tap, but the company’s full voice-activated assistant ambitions are only now becoming clear.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal story, the futuristic goal of Jeff Bezos’ company is to offer a universal voice assistant that can activate instantly and respond promptly and correctly to any query. While services like weather and sports scores are useful Echo features, Amazon’s grand plans include the built-in ability to control any smart home device, including third-party apps with simple voice commands.
Amazon has invested $100 million USD from its Alexa Fund in companies like smart doorbell maker Bot Home Automation, and Scout Security, a home security company. Amazon is also reportedly working with venture firms that fund companies like Uber and Blue Apron on Alexa related projects.
It’s clear from Amazon’s speed at incorporating new services into Alexa that the company knows these services are vital to its success. And with speaker companies lining up to incorporate Alexa into their products directly, the Alexa platform seems to have a very bright future.
Not to be outdone, sources have said that Google is planning to unveil a standalone voice-activated speaker of its own this week at Google I/O, reportedly called Google Home. The device will presumably compete directly with the Echo, and given the massive number of data-hungry services Google is already working on, Google Home will likely be a strong choice for consumers who are already using other Google products.
Unfortunately, similar to many of Amazon’s products, the company has revealed no plans to bring the Echo to the Canadian market.
[source]The Wall Street Journal[/source]