What Product Dominated At CES 2017
What product dominated CES? The answer is Alexa from Amazon.
It was everywhere, for the simple reason that it has almost become the defacto standard for talking to a device.
Even though Amazon wasn’t showing off Alexa themselves their digital personal assistant stole the show as the most widely integrated technology: It was hooked up with smart speakers, refrigerators, lamps, robots, cars, and the list goes on.
Samsung, Logitech, Netgear they were all using Alexa to talk to other devices.
The device has not been launched in Australia officially but I was assured that it will be despite problems with the Aussie twang.
Manufacturers looking for a means to make their appliances voice-operable, have adopted Alexa as the means to extend the capability of their own technology such as streaming music and turning smart lights on and off.
Four years ago, Amazon was quick to notice the potential of voice control following the rise of smartphone apps that could interact with appliances, claims tech analyst Dinesh Kithany at IHS Technology.
“Alexa’s rivals haven’t been promoted quite as well,” he told the BBC, though he noted companies adopting the assistant must think of genuinely useful ways to integrate it into their products.
Manufacturers at CES have been 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.
Over the last seven years, the world has witnessed the rapid proliferation of Google’s Android operating system which is now in more smartphones than any other OS by far, as well as many TVs, watches and computers.
Part of this meteoric rise is down to the fact that Google gives Android away for free to device manufacturers – just like Amazon is doing with Alexa.
Despite the search giant having a long history of voice recognition research, it has only just started promoting its own Google Assistant to third parties. That gives Amazon first-mover advantage.
A walk around the CES’s show floor suggests Alexa is poised to dominate, it’s worth remembering that this is a US trade show.
Amazon is not quite as global a company as Google or Microsoft – the online retailer doesn’t have a website for countries such as Australia yet but they are set to launch in 2017.