Amazon's Alexa Could Become a Digital Advertising Powerhouse

Tyler Lizenby  CNET

Devices from Amazon and Google are the clear leaders in the smart speaker category with their respective Echo and Home products.

Microwaves are about to get a whole lot smarter, and even more convenient, thanks to Amazon Alexa. This means users will be able to utilize Alexa to do things like control volume and change inputs with different voice controls. That said, hopefully Amazon and these companies have taken precautions to make sure that ovens don't get accidentally set without people realizing, since that could lead to a risky situation. "Customers can ask Alexa to set microwave cook times, modes, power levels, and more instead of using the traditional and often confusing microwave experience".

Expect to see the cooking features in use very soon. These new capabilities are made possible through Amazon's Smart Home Skill API.

The remote from Amazon Prime also is voice enabled, so consumers can say which program to find. Using the appropriate Alexa Skill, and saying "Alexa, defrost this 2-pound sirloin steak", will start a microwave and punch in the correct settings - with just your voice. Whilst Amazon has a variety of vendor partners, it's not certain how rapidly support will roll out. GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG and Samsung have also committed to working on skills for their own ovens and "more appliances".

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Whirlpool has already created an Alexa skill through Amazon's Smart Home Skill toolkit that will enable its to-be-launched microwaves to take cooking instructions such as "heat for 50 seconds" from the voice assistant.

Today, Hisense announced that the company is bringing Amazon's digital assistance, Alexa, to some of its 2018 4K Smart TVs.

The new feature, called Flash Briefing, is easily set up after downloading the Amazon Alexa app on an iOS or Android device. While 2017 has been a banner year for smart speakers in terms of hardware sales, especially for Google and Amazon, smart speakers in 2018 will move beyond hardware, with strategic attempts to monetize the growing installed base in the United States and beyond.

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