CES 2017 offered some interesting new technology this year. Everywhere you looked, you would hear about HDR, self-driving cars, and Amazon Alexa.
When you look at all the new announcements and showcases at CES 2017, every corner features at least one of the three technology above. Once of them, Amazon Alexa, caught my eye. Being a heavy user of electronics and new technology, AI and personal assistants are important for my work. They make life a lot easier and allow me to perform better at certain tasks and find some information faster. Naturally, I am not the only one who is, let’s use ‘dependent’, of this useful technology.
AI have been around for quite a while in video games, and just recently have had a heavy influence over smart devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.). It comes to no surprise to learn that many companies are developing their own – it feels like we are reliving the race for the best Internet browser. Everyone wants a piece of the pie and I can’t blame them. This is where this era’s technology is headed.
What is Alexa?
Amazon Alexa, also referred to Alexa, is an intelligent personal assistant put into place by Lab126, a division of Amazon.com. The technology became largely popular due to the success of the Amazon Echo, a smart speaker capable of a large set of actions. The technology itself is said to be able to accomplish an even larger set of actions, such as providing you with real-time information (traffic, weather, news reports), playing music and other audio files, voice interaction, creating to-do lists and reminders, and much more.
To put things in perspective, Alexa is pretty much like Cortana, Google Assistant and Siri, but with its own flair. What sets it apart is that Alexa can interact with other devices running or supporting Amazon Alexa. Alexa is the best solution for building a fully intelligent and ‘smart’ home.
Integration & Built-In Supported Devices
As of January 2017, numerous devices ranging from speakers to dancing robots have either an integrated or built-in Alexa AI. The difference between the two is that built-in hardware means that they are built with an on-board microphone and speaker. That way, they do not require the help of the Amazon Echo.
Integrated entails that the devices can be controlled using a command, but do not come built-in with a microphone and/speaker. To give commands, you must use a device using a built-in Alexa AI as a bridge. For example, if you want to turn on with voice command the new Alexa-integrated Whirlpool set of washer/dryer/refrigerators/ovens, you can use the Amazon Echo as a bridge.
The Verge has an interesting list of all of the devices that have a built-in or integrated Alexa AI.