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Smarthome offensive: Amazon makes language assistant Alexa smarter

2019-09-25T19:11:21.514Z

TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates



Seattle (AP) - Amazon wants to make its language assistant Alexa smarter and thus anchored even more in the daily lives of users. For example, in the future, Alexa will be able to warn if the batteries in the networked door lock or the ink in the printer are running low.

The camera doorbell of the subsidiary ring should be able to talk thanks to a "concierge" function with people who are at the door.

Alexa should also be able to recognize in the future, if users are frustrated about her. For that, the software will analyze the voice - and be more friendly. Another voice command introduces the question "Alexa, why did you do that?", Which allows users to ask the voice assistant for an explanation of unexpected behavior. In cases where the software executes a voice command incorrectly, the question "Alexa, what did you hear?" Will help in the future.

Overall, the Amazon announcements add up to a full-blown smartphone offensive - with a total of 15 product announcements and prices, which often undercut the competition as usual in Amazon. So Limp presented a ring security camera for the home for only about 60 dollars. The additionally purchased Wifi specialist Eero will also be integrated into the Alexa world: For example, voice commands should be used to turn off the network connection of individual devices. The voice control should be available via interfaces with wifi routers from other providers. Meanwhile, the only available in the US Eero device family wants to bring Amazon, meanwhile, soon to Europe.

With the first Alexa earphones Amazon also pushes into a new product category, which is so far dominated by Apple's AirPods. An application idea is, for example, that one can ask in a supermarket of the in-house organic supermarket chain Whole Foods, in which gear certain foods are. The earphones have built-in suppression of ambient noise by the hi-fi specialist Bose and are also cheaper than comparable technology from other providers with $ 129.

Another new Amazon device is a networked speaker with significantly improved sound. The group is thus strengthening its competition with Apple and hi-fi specialists such as Sonos. The model Echo Studio should provide for all-round sound and adapt to the room. The price set Amazon with around 200 euros much lower than competitors' models - a HomePod from Apple for about 329 euros.

As experimental products Amazon brings a pair of glasses with microphone for use of Alexa and a ring also with a microphone and a tiny speaker out. They will be available in limited edition in the US. The glasses have no camera or display, but is intended only for voice communication with Alexa.

Limp emphasized that privacy is a fundamental part of all functions. Amazon, like other language service providers like Apple and Google, had been criticized over the past few months for allowing employees to hear audio streaming conversations with Alexa while users were unaware. In the meantime, they are expressly advised and may object to the use of their records to improve speech recognition.

With the "Amazon Sidewalk" service, the group wants to create a new infrastructure for the Internet of Things in the future. With the proprietary wireless standard in the range of 900 MHz, distances of more than one kilometer can be bridged.

Source: zeit

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