Here’s the intro from this voicebot.ai article:
Amazon’s new Alexa Print feature extends the voice assistant into the physical realm with a slew of new commands that allow the AI to offer a physical response to a question or request. Alexa can print calendars, coloring books, recipes, and puzzles by voice command, a third dimension to the digital audio, and screen responses available on smart speakers and smart displays. The update also allows voice app developers to augment their Alexa skills with printing commands, first promised by Amazon a year ago.
This voicebot.ai article notes that Apple has reduced its prices dramatically for smart speakers, coming out with a “HomePod Mini” for $99. As someone who spent a bundle a decade ago for a home stereo system from Sonos, it’s amazing to see how prices have dropped. Not to mention the dazzling array of features these smart speakers have. Love the intercom feature so that you can talk to others in another room. No more shouting upstairs for your partner…
Here’s the intro from this TechCrunch article:
Amazon wants to bring Alexa to property managers. The company this morning launched a new service, Alexa for Residential, that aims to make it easier for property managers to set up and maintain Alexa-powered smart home experiences in their buildings, like condos or apartment complexes. At launch, IOTAS, STRATIS and Sentient Property Services will be among the first smart home integrators to use the Alexa for Residential service.
The idea is to make Alexa a tool for smart home management, even for those without their own Amazon account. The way the service works, new residents won’t have to purchase their own device or set anything up to get started. Instead, they can just speak to Alexa to control the various smart home features available at their residence and use basic Alexa features. like timers, alarms or getting information like news and weather.
Property managers can choose to create custom Alexa skills for each unit, allowing the residents to submit maintenance requests, make amenity reservations or even pay their rent via Alexa.
Here’s a note from the “Rain” agency:
The more smart speakers, the merrier. Smart assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have become staples in our homes and apartments, individually bought by customers. However, as the adoption of voice technology accelerates, companies are looking to scale the presence of voice assistants to make them everyday necessities anywhere we go. Google and Volara’s new partnership is embedding Google Nest Hubs into hotel rooms, and Alexa for Hospitality is also placing smart speakers in chain hotels and vacation rentals. Meanwhile, Alexa for Business is upgrading the workplace to be more advanced and productive. These initiatives seek to boost the presence of these assistants on a larger scale, moving beyond smart homes to smart hotels, offices, apartment units, and more.
This C-Net article provides five “music hacks” to better leverage music when you use Alexa to listen to it. My favorite is this one:
When you’re listening to a new song you’ve never heard, it can be annoying to interrupt the song by asking Alexa what it’s called or who sings it. However, with a feature called Song ID, Alexa will announce the artist and name of the track before playing the song. To enable, say, “Alexa, turn on Song ID.”
The article also suggests a dozen fun music-related questions to ask Alexa, such as “Alexa, who is Jessie’s girl”…
This C-Net article lists three ways that your Amazon Echo can help protect your house. Two involved the “Alexa Guard” feature and one uses “Away Lighting”…meanwhile, Amazon has made it easier for developers to develop skills for home use, per this Voicebot.ai article…
There’s something freaky about this Forbes article that describes how a new set of smart mirrors work. Here’s an excerpt:
These smart mirrors feature varying luminosity levels ranging from cool light (optimal for makeup application) to warm light (perfect for winding down before bedtime), defogging features to reduce mirror steam in less than five seconds and memory function to save one’s ideal light settings for daily use. With a minimally designed icon panel, these mirrors are controlled by touching integrated icon buttons. With a luminosity of >300 Lux [unit of illumination] and gradual adjustments of light color ranging from warm candle light to cool light (2,700 – 6,500 kelvin light color), these mirrors afford illumination as required for the task on hand and time of day.
Here’s the stats from this Voicebot.ai article:
– Smart speakers are most likely to be found in bedrooms, leading other locations in the home at 45.5% of device owners
– The popularity of the bedroom rose about eight percent over 2019 when it was the choice of 37.6% of smart speaker owners
– Consumers with smart speakers in the bedroom are more active users of smart speakers across a number of use cases
– Data suggests smart speakers are becoming more integrated into morning and evening routines for consumers and that privacy concerns are no more prevalent based on location within the home
In this 11-page report, RAIN and PulseLabs looked into the how over 1400 people are using voice assistants during the pandemic. Here’s the highlights:
– More People are Looking to Voice for News & Info – Voice requests for updates about the coronavirus increased by 250% in the month of March, indicating that people are increasingly looking to their voice assistants for news and a variety of facts about current events.
– Voice Searches Carry Rich Emotional Valence – Spoken searches and commands can carry more emotion and sentiment, valuable for brands in any industry. For example, we found that people confide in Alexa, asking questions like “Alexa, what are the chances I’ll be infected?,” “Alexa, I’m scared,” and “Alexa, am I going to die?”
– Spikes in At-Home Voice Use Presents Big Potential Value for Brands – The conversation on voice can yield valuable insights across industries. As one key example, we found a 50% increase on voice apps related to ordering and delivering food. And questions about recipes have gone up by 41%. Analysis of these utterances confirms the intuition that people are cooking and ordering food more than before, while also providing clues about which brands and experiences they prefer.
– Accuracy is Paramount for Trust – Over recent months, both Alexa and Google Assistant have taken pains to ensure that reputable, recognized sources provide answers to coronavirus-related queries through a strong emphasis on 1st party experience. The volume, variety, and seriousness of the queries seen in this report validate the importance of those efforts.
This NY Times article describes the many uses of smart speakers that often aren’t taken advantage of – here’s an excerpt:
All the major smart speakers can connect to your phone and be used as a speakerphone. Even in the most well-wired offices, it’s often hard to be heard and understood on conference calls, and your smart speaker may be able to help. Using a HomePod, Google Home speaker, or Echo device as a speakerphone has two main advantages: It likely has a louder speaker than your smartphone and, often, an array of multiple microphones designed to pick up hard-to-hear speech from different angles of a room.
Each manufacturer has instructions on how to turn its smart speaker into a speakerphone (here they are for Apple’s HomePod, Google Home and Amazon’s Echo devices). Each device has its own way of connecting to your phone and contacts. Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers connect through their apps, while Apple iPhones can connect to HomePods over AirPlay or automatically just by holding it near the top of the speaker.
This might not be ideal in a large corporate setting, but for smaller offices or remote settings, having a multipurpose speaker that can be used for music and other tasks, as well as a conference call speakerphone other times might be just the ticket to beat the bad call quality that comes with other speakerphones.