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Amazon Alexa is getting all kinds of updates in 2018, and it’s driving all kinds of new features on the Amazon Echo series of products. In this video, I detail all of the latest updates from Amazon related to Alexa, the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and many other Amazon smart home devices.
The first new update this week is related to Amazon and their new security offerings. For (starting at) $575, Amazon will provide you with professional installation of an Echo Dot, a Ring doorbell, and many other smart home and home automation products. Those products will be set up in your home and you’ll be able to use them. Packages go up from there, but they’re a great entry way into home automation.
Alexa and Schlage already have great integration. You can ask Alexa for the status of your Schlage Sense and Connect locks, and you can ask Alexa to lock your Schlage. The one thing you haven’t been able to do is to unlock your Schlage lock…until now.
If you’ve been paying attention to Google I/O 2018, you would have heard that there are now 8 voices available for Google Assistant. As a result, Amazon has now added an additional set of voices for Alexa. This capability is only available for developers right now, and only a select few that have been chosen to participate in the initial rollout. We’ll see how this extends to everyday users soon.
File this under crazy, but Alexa can now learn your voice simply through a few words spoken. She’ll also do it automatically, as long as you allow the setting in your Alexa app. We knew automatic voice identification was coming, I just didn’t think it was so soon.
If you have a TiVo, you now have an option for voice control. Alexa can now control your TiVo device if you have one of the newer models.
This is great news for those of us who want to produce skills for Alexa, as Amazon has given developers more access to making money. You can now charge for subscriptions or even physical goods. This goes hand in hand with the Amazon marketplace, obviously, but it’s great capability for developers to have access to. We’ll have to watch the deployment of this though, as it could become difficult to control spending without the right controls.
Lego Duplo will have its own interactive Alexa skill for your children. It’s intended as a storytelling skill, but it’s also interactive and will help your child learn colors, shapes, and more about the Duplo blocks themselves. This is a great way for kids to enjoy their Lego!
If you cared about the Royal Wedding last week between Harry and Megan, then you can ask Alexa questions about said wedding. I show you how to trigger some of those easter eggs in this video.
Finally, the margin for Alexa-enabled devices is shrinking versus other smart speakers. Having said that, Amazon is selling more and more each and every quarter. Year over year, Alexa devices have doubled in sales…from 2 million to 4 million (in Q1 2017 to Q1 2018). That’s an amazing jump over just one year. If they keep going like this, no one will ever catch them.
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