Viewing entries tagged

What does 2017 hold for the Smart Home


What does 2017 hold for the Smart Home

Voice control apparently, specifically Amazons Alexa technology. It's been taking the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in the USA by storm.

PocketLint reports

Some are saying that CES 2017 is all about AI - artificial intelligence - but it isn't. It's very specifically about Amazon Alexa.

We saw an emerging trend through 2016, expanding the smart personal assistant, going far beyond the sort of thing that Google Now and Apple Siri had been offering through various phones. 

CES 2017 has seen the launch of an unprecedented number of devices that aren't "compatible" with Amazon's Alexa, they're powered by it. There's an important point of distinction to be made here: your thermostat and lights are compatible with Alexa, not powered by it.

The deluge of devices powered by Alexa at CES 2017 confirm one thing: Amazon Alexa isn't a step ahead of its rivals in the battle for smart connectivity, it's a full country mile in the lead. 

You might say that that simply comes down to timing. Amazon launched the Echo in the US in 2015, taking the UK by storm in late 2016. The Amazon Echo is a device that sells itself: anyone who plays with it can't help but be drawn to the range of things that it does so simply, and the more technical love the wide support for third-party devices and services. The Echo is a true home hub.


There are two important things happening here: firstly, in June 2015, Amazon announced the Alexa Voice Service, making the brains available to developers; secondly, Alexa is established, meaning everyone wants to play nice. 

With more and more third-parties moving to work with Alexa, Amazon is in a position of critical mass: it's the product you need to work with, it's the natural interface within the emerging smart home, just as Philips Hue is for smart lighting. 

That's all come to fruition at CES 2017 with an overwhelming number of companies launching devices that take advantage of Alexa Voice Service. It's found its way into cars, with Ford confirming it's coming to its Sync service, it's in fridges, with LG adding the smart technology to appliances. Alexa appears in Huawei's Mate 9, it's the interface for home robots and is even appearing in TVs. 

Then there's more regular rivals to the original Amazon Echo that started this Alexa trend in the form of the Lenovo Smart Assistant.

If there's a theme that's pulling CES together, it's that Amazon has stolen a march on its rivals and that Alexa is going to be everywhere in 2017.