Amazon Alexa will soon control microwave ovens


Could Alexa be the next big thing in 2018? As such the company is already offering its Echo lineup in different form factors. "Amazon has hinted in the past that it will launch a paid search ad product for Alexa, but sources said that the latest talks show the e-commerce giant is preparing to make a serious run at the ad market as early as this year".

Amazon says that, to begin with, Alexa will be able to set microwave cook times, modes and power levels, but there's no word as to whether the AI assistant is yet smart enough to figure out how to set the ruddy clock. Yes, you heard that right.

Amazon has added the kitchen companions to the list of gadgets that can conceivably be controlled by the Alexa personal assistant.

As a result, increasing numbers of third-party companies have moved to add Alexa compatibility to their products so that Echo speakers and Alexa-compatible smartphones can be used to control appliances around the home. Support for other cooking devices, such as conventional ovens, is coming soon. This functionality will initially only be available to US-based developers but Amazon will be bringing the API to other parts of the world "soon".

Customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces (VUIs) as a hands-free way to manage their lives, and hands-free control is especially valuable when cooking.

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So with the built-in cooking device controls in the Smart Home Skill API, users will now find it easier to control their cloud-connected microwave. Instead of pressing umpteen buttons, you can simply ask Alexa to "defrost 3lbs of chicken". GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG and Samsung have also committed to working on skills for their own ovens and "more appliances".

The new feature, called Flash Briefing, is easily set up after downloading the Amazon Alexa app on an iOS or Android device.

The functions won't work with existing microwaves, so manufacturers will have to build new smart ovens to support Alexa.

All in all, this is an interesting development in the technology sphere. "While 2017 has been a banner year for smart speakers in terms of hardware sales, especially for Google and Amazon, smart speakers in 2018 will move beyond hardware, with strategic attempts to monetize the growing installed base in the United States and beyond".