It looks like Amazon is winning the battle for the best virtual voice assistant with their Alexa model. At least this is what we can extract from Alexa’s domination at this year’s CES. Companies like Apple, Samsung or Google might have lost the war in what concerns this kind of technology.
Alexa’s domination at CES
All the tech giants are gathering each year at the Las Vegas convention. They show off their new gadgets, phones, cars and everything else. However, this year, the convention was totally stolen by a company which was not even physically present: Amazon. They did not show up, but their virtual assistant Alexa could be found everywhere from smartphones, lamps and even washing machines. There are many companies which announced that they want to add the Alexa assistant to their devices. Companies like Ford, Whirlpool or Lenovo are just a few of them. Amazon actually plans to build a system which will be able to run a large variety of tasks from different domains. This way, in the near future, you could just shout at your dishwasher and it will tell you what you need to know.
According to a professor, the fact the Amazon has managed to introduce Alexa into the environment makes it much easier for users to communicate with it. You no longer have to take out your phone, open an app and talk. You can now just go around your house asking Alexa different things and she will respond.
The competition pays attention
However, it seems like all the other companies which want to enter the digital assistant market paid attention to what Amazon did. In conclusion, last year, Google revealed a device which is somewhat similar to Alexa, called Google Home. At the same time, Apple updated their own assistant Siri and made it function on other devices too. At the end of 2016, Samsung bought Viv Labs which is a startup specialized in virtual assistants. Rumor has it that the company is working to introduce such an assistant with their new Galaxy models.
It gets even more interesting. According to a research firm, by 2019, around 20 per cent of the interactions with your smartphone will be done via virtual assistants. By 2020, it is expected that all devices will be manufactured in such a way that the users will not need to touch them anymore. Some are saying that Amazon ‘s huge success with Alexa came from their willingness to share their product with other companies.
Still, what makes a virtual assistant successful? Many are saying that it is the ability to be with the users at all times and everywhere they go. Also, to provide the specific data that the user wants. For example, to use Alexa in a hotel would be problematic, at least right now. Let’s say that a guest sets the alarm each day at 9 a. m. After he checks out, the next guest does not need to set the alarm at the same time. So, the settings the first guest made should immediately go away after he leaves the hotel. However, these are details that will most probably evolve and change. Until then, let’s all enjoy the era of virtual assistants.
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