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Amazon made a major epilegomenon , the next version of the Amazon Echo home device will now include a speakerphone and intercom built into it. This will further evolve the home IOT experience to facilitate other lifestyle features consumers can rely on the device for use. Tying the device to phone calls will help bring the Echo into more everyday use.  This to me is the first signal of Amazon looking to monetize the Echo device and potentially add click to call features to it.  Google Home is also looking to install this feature, they in turn could leverage Google Hangouts interface to allow people to call and eventually run click to call ads thru voice, leveraging a technology of this nature.

The race is on in the IOT home device arena. To date many stories have talked about the use of each device, Google home is better at search, Alexa is more apt with a more open interface to customize,  but still neither device has established it self as a perennial must have. I think adding features like telephony will definitely support more convenience and reliance for consumers in the home device market.  Also, as brands begin to build more skills (Alexa), and better voice content for Google Home, consumers will gradually change behavior to focus more on the device.  As startle stat to end this post on, Strategy Analytics predicts by 2022 North American consumers will spend over 50 billion on smart home devices. Currently, in 2016 North American consumers spend 17 billion. The race is on to own the home market.

Google Home Result Issue: Obama Planning a Coup

As we enter an age of home digital devices providing us on demand information, there is still a lot to be desired in the results. For example, today if you asked Google home if “Obama is planning a coup”, Google Home responded with a voice indexed result from a  news publisher, Secrets of the Fed, that stated he was planning a coup with the Chinese at the end of 2016. by Sunday evening pacific standard time, Google quickly removed the result.

 

As Google relies on its one answer box technology, it is becoming apparent that the results are not always accurate or timely. As we have dealt with many issues regarding legitimate content and fake news feeds over the past few months, Google needs to find away to insure its results are offering up the best and most relevant/accurate news to consumers.

 

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The Amazon Echo and Alexa did a good job in covering the 2017 Oscar winners. In a rather comical turn at the Oscars the wrong movie was announced as winner of best picture LA LA Land instead for the actual winner Moonlit. Alexa caught this and has a rather comical answer for the best picture voice result.

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The Amazon Echo much like the Google Home device has scared many people into turning off their device, while not in use.  People are fearful the devices may always be listening. This can be a good or bad thing, it really depends on how you leverage the information. In a recent homicide case in Bentonville, Arkansas, detectives had requested Amazon share audio records from a homicide scene, where the Amazon echo was present. According to Police, the device may have been playing, and could provide circumstantial evidence to them help solve the crime.

Amazon recently filed a motion,  in response to the this and  felt that the first amendment was at stake here. Amazon felt releasing private records of a users device violated a US citizens right to privacy. This is not the first time something like this happened either. Apple created the same response, when the FBI requested decryption of an iPhone after the terrorist attack in San Bernandino in late 2015.

Whether Amazon will have to release this information remains to be seen, however it does pose the question, who is the rightful owner of information recorded on ones own personal devices? With the acceleration of Digital Assistances like Google Home and the Amazon Echo (predicted to have sold over 8 millions devices over the 2016 holiday) , potential new laws may come into play to  allow or disallow local, state, and government agencies access to information for investigative purposes.

 

Buy with Google Home Voice Commands

Google Home has definitely stepped up its game in the IOT market place. This last week they launched their first Google Home buying feature. Leveraging their Google Express product, which takes into account inventory at local stores and has Google running the logistics, buyers can buy products and have them shipped thru a voice command on the Google Home Device. Google has now created not only voice experience but the ability to monetize it as well. Also, for a limited time thru April 30th you can buy with Google Home and not pay shipping. Businesses should definitely see this as a necessary step to begin to build Google home into their business plans. Here is an additional article from The Verge addressing this topic as well.

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Continued Sales Growth for the Amazon Echo Year over Year

The adoption and purchasing of the Amazon Echo has seen tremendous growth over the last two years. Amazon recently reported they saw 9 times as many sales of the Echo as compared to 2015 thru the holiday season. It is estimated that Amazon echo has reached over 8 million+ users by the beginning of 2017. Also from 2016 to today, the echo has seen its app (Skills) library grow from just over 1,000 apps in mid 2016 to over 7,000 in 2017. Users are more widely considering or adopting the product.

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Amazon Echo Team Stepping up Their Game for the Big Game

If you asked your Amazon Echo who would win the Superbowl before kickoff, she would have responded with a detailed answer and the pick of the Atlanta Falcons to win the game (before the game). Well, I guess the AI in Alexa isn’t that smart yet, as the Patriots won. If you asked Alexa after the game, she had updated her prediction with the Patriots winning in the first ever overtime Superbowl. However for the big game, give it to the Amazon Echo team for adding some engaging content about the Superbowl leading up to the game. Alexa even had some funny taunting commentary, if you used the command, Alexa “give me a falcons/patriots burn” for fans of both teams. Google Home didn’t pick sides, it just responded with check the scoreboard. Siri simply listed the the two teams and the spread (boring). Alexa definitely won the IOT Super Bowl for 2017.