Few internet boomed companies have diversified as much and as rapidly as Amazon. Started as an online bookstore, Amazon later dived into the retail market selling everything from DVDs, Blu-rays and video games to furniture, food, toys, and even jewelry. So it shouldn’t really be a surprise that the company had to get into manufacturing. From e-book readers like Kindle and the Fire tablets to smart home products, Amazon is manufacturing a wide range of products.
Amazon’s smart home appliances have seen a steady increase in popularity and smart speakers are by far the most popular item. It is estimated that 56% of all American households now own a smart speaker. Furthermore 60% of these purchases were in the last six months. Smart home products by Amazon are expected to be a top priority for the company, and its Echo (the name given to the smart speaker) is a device worthy of a review.
So what is the Amazon Echo?
The Amazon Echo was introduced in 2014 as a smart speaker allowing you to control the volume of music just by your commands. Its nucleus is the Alexa-a voice command software which is similar to Apple’s Siri. Alexa, apart from controlling the Echo is also capable of controlling other smart home appliances like light bulbs, security locks and thermostats. Therefore, in a way the echo has the capability of controlling most smart home appliances. Amazon capitalized on this idea and Amazon echo for your smart home became a must buy for anyone wishing to install smart home appliances.
Appearance and looks
Amazon Echo is a black cylindrical Bluetooth speaker. It looks sleek and sturdy. The device has built-in Omni-directional speakers that play music and other audio. The device can be placed anywhere in a room and it looks really good. It’s as if this speaker belonged to some science fiction movie.
Mechanics at play
The Echo can be placed anywhere but it is preferred to keep it in the living room as in that case most smart appliances would be close to it. Echo is equipped with a long-range microphone, it will help you in controlling your smart appliances using simple voice commands. Echo connects to the Internet via the home WiFi network. Once it hears a command the device gathers it and sends it to a natural voice recognition service in the cloud called Alexa Voice Service, which in turn interprets it and sends back the appropriate response. The microphones on the device are sensitive and can easily pick up a voice from across the room. The more the Echo recognizes a voice pattern the more it will adapts to its vocabulary and personal preferences. The only drawback is that the wifi connection needs to be strong or at the very least good but despite that the Amazon echo for your smart home could very well be the first truly integrated intelligent device worthy of purchase.
Amazon is already looking at the future. It is always adding more services to the Echo. As the demand for smart appliances increases, more smart home products will keep coming on the market. However, Amazon isn’t the only company into the game. Google, Apple and Microsoft all offer services that can perform tasks by voice command. Google has it in the form of OK Google, Apple has Siri and Microsoft Cortana. However, unlike the Echo, these do not have capability to control other smart appliances. Another factor to keep in mind is that there are already 10 million Amazon Echo devices out there in the American household. All future Smart home products by Amazon will integrate Alexa into their systems.
Final call: Speaker or Screen
It is already a well known fact that smart appliances are well within the consumer market. Look at the success of the Echo- more, because of it more than half the country owns a smart speaker. It is easy to see the direction things are taking. A smart screen to control all house appliances could be path breaking. And it is expected that we will soon see this development.
A new product called the Amazon Echo Show is already set to be launched. When asked by a survey on what potential applications were wanted the respondents came back with some surprising results. Instead of coming up with computer related features like a browser the top applications, they came up with clocks and timers, calendar, weather or news headlines, and personalized album capabilities. It’s a good time to get into smart home appliances as it is the future.