Amazon is looking to partner with more companies through its ‘Voice Interoperability Initiative‘ to allow all digital voice assistants to run on the same hardware.
This means that in the future, your Echo device could be a portal for talking with Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and even some smaller digital assistants from an app like Spotify.
So far a bunch of big-name companies like Sonos, Microsoft, Spotify and others have signed onto the initiative, but notable players in the voice assistant space like Google, Apple and Samsung are absent.
Some devices already work this way. Facebook’s Portal smart displays are an excellent example of this. You can talk to Alexa like you usually would, but then you can also talk to Facebook’s Portal assistant to activate Facebook Messanger calls.
This is kind of how Amazon sees voice assistants working in the future. There will be high-level assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant that can do lots of general things and then smaller niche assistants that can do more specific app-related tasks.
Amazon’s press release says it’s aiming to make this happen by focusing on four goals:
- Developing voice services that can work seamlessly with others, while protecting the privacy and security of customers
- Building voice-enabled devices that promote choice and flexibility through multiple, simultaneous wake words
- Releasing technologies and solutions that make it easier to integrate multiple voice services on a single product
- Accelerating machine learning and conversational AI research to improve the breadth, quality and interoperability of voice services
Since neither Google, Apple or Samsung decided to join this initiative, it will be interesting to see if this open partnership gives Amazon a leg up over its competition. It would be interesting to see either Google or Apple join this pact since then it would likely mean that Alexa could more tightly integrate with Android or iOS.
While that seems unlikely, it is helpful to dream about a world where all the major tech companies play together nicely.