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Amazon Alexa moves outside the home

News, 16 January 2017
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LAS VEGAS: Amazon believes that Alexa, its digital assistant powered by artificial intelligence, can play a major role outside the home, with the automotive space representing one category that holds out significant potential.

C.J. Frost, Principal Solutions Architect/Alexa Automotive at Amazon, discussed this subject at CES 2017, an event held by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

And he outlined some of the ways that the firm's intelligent system could extend beyond the Amazon Echo, an interactive speaker which has proved extremely popular with consumers for at-home use.

"We really believe that the vision, and the value, is that Alexa is everywhere – the idea that you can have this consistent experience with a voice service wherever you are, wherever you're engaging," said Frost. (For more, read Warc's free-to-access report: How Amazon is making Alexa more than a household name.)

"And Alexa responds in the same way no matter where you are."

By way of illustration, Frost cited the example of Ford, the automaker, which plans to begin integrating Alexa into vehicles containing its SYNC 3 infotainment system later this year.

Drivers of these connected four-wheeled offerings will be able to leverage the same features as if they were using Amazon's Echo in their living room, be it asking for the latest news headlines or making shopping lists.

"The next natural thing is: We want to engage Alexa from inside the car," said Frost. "Wouldn't it be cool if … you had a consistent experience between your car and your house, back and forth?

"We think that, as we engage into automotive mobility, having this consistent, friendly, intelligent voice service inside your car … becomes a very easy way to engage, and [is] very consistent."

Such consistency, however, can be supplemented by context-specific features – such as the ability to find eateries, amenities or points of interest along the route the user is driving – by issuing oral requests for information.

"This is the natural idea that everything I do with Alexa … in my house, I want to be able to get in my car and do the same thing. But I also want to do things that are specific to the car," Frost said.

Data sourced from Warc

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