On September 25th, when Amazon presented their latest hardware and devices, the main focus was on their smart speaker, Amazon Echo.
The new Echo will be better than ever; it has a brand new spherical design, improved sound capabilities, and uses the latest technology to process commands at a faster pace. The most important addition to the smart speaker is called Az1 Neural Edge Silicone Modules, which is a processor that detects commands using local machine learning algorithms for speech recognition before sending these to the cloud. This results in shorter response times for Echo and creates an increasingly friction free interaction between user and device.
Amazon has a continuous focus on natural conversation in the development of their products. In the past, Alexa responded when the user stopped talking which is a completely different interaction than humans have. The new ”Alexa, join the conversation” function gives Alexa the ability to handle crosstalk, engage with several users, interrupt with tips and engage with users in a more pro-active manner.
These impressive features and upgrades that are likely to be implemented in 2021 will probably put Alexa ahead of its competition. What this will mean for smart speaker usage and businesses that have not thought about a conversation-first interaction with their customers is yet to be seen…