In 2014 Amazon surprised everyone by unveiling its digital assistant Echo. It is a cylindrical speaker with a microphone that has blown its competition away. As the statistics show that it accounts for about 70% of all digital assistants in use in the US. This has left its nearest competitor Google home way behind with bout 23%.
Although speaking to an electronic device does not come naturally to most people, it is certainly a thing of the future.
A new report by Amazon has revealed that 36 million Americans use a virtual assistant at least once a month. This growth in the market does show the rising interest.
Following a report on AFTV.com, Evan Blass, a twitter handler known for his reliable leaks has released an image of the Echo with a 7-inch display. Chances are that it could be used for video calling, as the extremely low quality image shows a hint of a front camera.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) May 5, 2017
The screen also opens up a wide range of other interactions such as knowing the time without asking and other customised information provided according to what the user needs.
IoT on the rise
The Internet of Things hasn’t quite boomed, yet. But, when it does virtual assistants are going to be the ‘go-to’ devices. If Amazon holds on to or increases its early lead with virtual assistants, it will pay off when IoT actually dawns upon the market.
CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber said, “Amazon has a head start in the voice race but the industry has barely crossed the starting line.”
The likes of Cortana and Siri have done okayish in the US. But, it is their exclusivity toiOS and Windows that hinders their growth. Should the market get to a point where it is impossible to sell without a good virtual assistant, commercial buyers will be willing to pay a fortune for them. While Microsoft is known to pander to such demands, Apple may or may not be upto it.
Amazon is trying to expand its lead rapidly. Alexa has now spread to automobiles. General Motors not only has Alexa in its cars, it also announced an Alexa-powered lamp.
Alexa is more than comfortable with where it stands, but Echo is about to enter into an intense market.