In 2014, after some extensive laboratory hours in Lab126, Amazon launched its first “Intelligent Personal Assistant gadget”, the Amazon Echo, that made its mark under the what we now know as “Alexa”. The Voice Interaction feature can handle a range of household tasks like music playbacks, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, and other real time information, along with responding to domestic requests to make sure dinner is ready, the light and A/C switches, and the curtains are where they’re supposed to be. Connect Voice Interaction to the to the internet and masters can remote control from their phone or computer, continents away if she so chooses, and manage external jobs like Dominos Pizza deliveries, grocery refills to Uber pickups. Recently, a 6 year old kindergartener managed to figure out the password and asked Alexa to get her pricey toys and munchies. Just like that, a $160 sparkling mansion dollhouse and two kilos of sugar cookies arrived in a matter of no time. In all seriousness, Alexa fills in the puzzle that makes our homes smart. With Blockchain induced Smart Meter technology and the Tesla batteries to capture, store and interactively flow excess energy back and forth with wind and solar grids, we can expect to see Smart Home concepts and many ensuing inventions come to life on the shelves pretty soon. Amazon’s mission statement to invent innovations that make the lives of human beings easier and more sustainable just turned a new chapter.
Add Smart Cars to the smart garages and we start to get a bigger picture.
Right around the corner in 2020, Autonomous Vehicles are expected to give cars an even larger role to play in our already dependent lives. Not only do they drive themselves, the interactive feature will grant owners hands-free control, as well as boosted security through voice recognition. The function took the first turn to the factory as the second largest US auto giant, Ford Motor, shook hands with Amazon’s Alexa herself. Car drivers are in the initial stage to become unorthodox as car shopping takes the helm, instead. It’s all in the reach of a button. Shop Amazon online, listen to Prime Member music and VDO streams or whatever you can think of that doesn’t require a physical presence, while driving.
The scalability of the Ford-Alexa tango is vast. As Amazon announced that Alexa can process over 3,000 commands, non-stop, Ford’s net sales on cars and trucks boosted to 2.6 million units in 2016 alone, accounting for as much as 15% of the global automobile market. Alexa applications will be installed in Ford’s electric cars, the Focus, and Ford’s hybrids, the Fusion Energi and C-max Energi, in January of this year. Car owners will be able to check battery charging status, start their vehicle from, have the gates opened and en route itineraries double checked even before getting out of bed.
In December of 2016, Amazon announced the plan to extend interactive applications to the accommodation business. The “Alexa and Echo” feature will be incorporated to Wynn’s luxury hotel lines in Las Vegas in up to 4,748 rooms. Of course, the guests will be able switch her on and off at will. Should she be wanted, the lights, room temperature, the blinds and the cable TV can be adjusted with a few simple voice commands.
Enhanced safety and security for retirement homes?: “Alexa, help !”
Although capable of picking up on the softest of most distant of sounds from the owner, Amazon has not made a statement as of yet regarding possible applications that may take shape in retirement and care taking, healthcare or security and safety business, e.g., what Alexa is capable of in the event of burglary. It might not be too long before we start listening to actual people a lot less on a daily basis.
A: “Mr. Hefner, you are exhibiting disturbing signs this morning, such as shortness of breath, palpitations and unusual sweating. It is highly recommended to cut down on stressful activity in the mansion beyond wee hours. The following pills have been arranged for breakfast, vitamin A, B, C, …. and V, ..”
Regardless of whether the mechanism turns out to works better with homes or cars, this is another exciting milestone for the automotive industry to achieve. It creates an outstanding opportunity to cross over into the next chapter where cars play an even larger role in our lives. The possibilities seems endless with attentive Alexa around.
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Reference and pictures from bloomber.com, amazon.com, businessinsider.com