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Hisense Smart TVs Adding Amazon Alexa Service In 2018

05 January 2018, 12:54 | Francis Delgado

Amazon's Alexa can now tell microwaves how to cook

Smart speakers will be the fastest growing new category in 2018 outpacing wearables AR and VR

The number of people in the USA using voice-enabled speakers more than doubled in 2017 to 36 million, with Amazon capturing 71 percent of the market.

The catch, as you might imagine, is that your ovens and microwaves need to support this feature, and nearly all "smart" versions now don't. This means users will be able to utilize Alexa to do things like control volume and change inputs with different voice controls.

The tech company has revealed it's adding microwave and oven control features to Alexa, giving it the ability to action requests such as "Alexa, please microwave for 1 minute on high". Going forward, those customers will be able to use shorter, simpler voice commands when using Alexa to control their oven, and receive updates on their food as it's cooking. These new capabilities are made possible through Amazon's Smart Home Skill API.

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Meanwhile, Amazon also announced that its venture capital arm, Alexa Fund, has invested in June Life, makers of the June Intelligent Oven. It'll also spread availability beyond the US-only skills that the new system will ship with now, to other countries. Instead of pressing umpteen buttons, you can simply ask Alexa to "defrost 3lbs of chicken".

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. "The interfaces are designed for future extensibility as support for more cooking devices becomes available". Amazon has a handful of partners on board, but it isn't clear just how quickly support will roll out.

Amazon got a lot of press this morning after the announcement that Alexa has added cooking to its skill set. 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. GE, Kenmore, LG and Samsung will also sell new products with Alexa. Do let us know in the comments.



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