Believe it or not, Amazon Echo has been changing our future
It’s not hard to imagine a future where your virtual personal assistant(VPA) is everywhere. By 2020, people will spend $2.1 billion on talking digital assistant like Amazon Echo all over the world. Soon enough, Alexa, Siri, Google, and others like them will sneak into your home, prepared to fulfill your every vagary. Need coffee? Tell your coffee maker. Forgot to close the gate? Talk about it to the mic in your dashboard. Sounds like a science fiction movie, right? I’ve long been a supporter of hands-free computing. During the past years, us humans have been so obsessed with our screens. I suppose voice control will provide the same functionality and benefits with your eyes off all the screens.
“Last year, the VPA speaker market essentially consisted of end-user spending focused entirely on Amazon Echo, a wireless speaker with an array of embedded microphones to capture and respond to users’ far-field voice commands,” said Werner Goertz, research director at Gartner. “By 2020, competitors’ products and third-party implementations of leading VPAs (Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana) will likely have ramped up.”
Although giant technology companies today are already dip their fingers in the pie, Amazon already got advantages. First of all, amazon cloud is a powerful web services, called Amazon Web Service, or AMS. AWS provides surplus of backend tools that can support AI and other technologies that make Echo more excellent. Amazon also has a huge e-commerce marketplace, a helpful distribution channel for all gadgets.
The plan here is to create an ecosystem around Alexa. Users will see a cluster effect of Alexa -enable devices benefit from each other, attracting more users into the greater Alexa ecosystem.
It seems like Echo is playing a role as a bait, sneaking Alexa into the home and alluring customers to the larger voice-controlled ecosystem. Amazon is sticking to the customers by Echo. The strategy here is the removal of the display as a computing interface. If a screen or a touchable display is accessible to the users, they will unconsciously interact with that input. Rather than pick up new languages or new behaviors around voice-only method, they will go back to the screen and dial a number, or type text, and so on.
Amazon still confronts extensive challenges in building up its voice-controlled empire. For example, as your home is full of smart devices, setting each device separately will become overwhelmed. Also, how to make devices cooperate with each other effectively, to make platforms providers work together seamlessly.
Currently, Amazon is focusing on sending Alexa to as many places as possible, regardless of details. It’s acceptable. New technology is always messy. Gradually, all the scattered parts may get together to create a really powerful ecosystem.