Sunday, 8 January 2017

Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa shines at CES2017

Alexa is an intelligent personal assistant developed by's Lab126, made popular by the Echo (a smart speaker developed by . It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic and other real time information.

As per a Reuters report, Alexa appeared almost everywhere at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show)  2017 held at Las Vegas in the United States of America. Companies ranging from appliance maker Whirlpool Corp to Ford Motor Co unveiled products featuring Alexa, the digital assistant from Amazon that responds to voice commands.The adoption of Alexa by a prominent Android manufacturer indicates that Amazon may have opened up an early lead over Google as the companies race to present their digital assistants to as many people as possible, analysts said. Many in the technology industry believe that such voice-powered digital assistants will supplant keyboards and touch screens as a primary way consumers interact with devices.

Alexa debuted on the Amazon Echo smart speaker, and Amazon is establishing a broad array of hardware and software partnerships around it. The competing Google Assistant launched last year on the company’s Pixel smartphone, after appearing on Google's messaging app, and has begun to roll out to third-party devices as well.

"Alexa seems to be a big winner at CES thus far," said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

As per this BBC Technology reportManufacturers are able to design new "skills" for the assistant - meaning the AI is not limited to what Amazon has built in.
Alexa can, with a quick bit of programming, be adapted to lock car doors or tell you when your washing machine's cycle will finish.
Perhaps this is how Amazon has cornered so much of the market - by explicitly designing a flexible AI that allows companies to implement it as they see fit.

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