The race to the top of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) world has begun and, as could be expected, Apple and Google are leading the charge on the mobile front, though Microsoft should not be discounted. However, we should not count out Amazon, either, as they have just announced their collaboration with Intel to develop a series of smart home initiatives over the next few years.
Most notable, the pair plans to create a modern reference design for “an Intel-based smart speaker,” which will, of course, include Amazon’s proprietary Alexa virtual assistant.
Alexa content marketing manager Ted Karczewski notes, “With voice as the central interface, customers have an even more natural way to manage the hundreds of tasks they experience every day.”
Now, Amazon is actually ahead of the game in terms of “smart-home” tech. Their Echo device is, in fact, the current market leader with, reportedly, at least 4 million units sold. However, the company has a lot of ground to cover in bridging the gap between their successful digital home assistant and the other tech companies who are leading their respective market quadrants.
But Amazon does have Alexa (and Echo) and one of their new initiatives (with new partner Intel) is to enable Alexa to remotely control and coordinate various device actions within a more fully integrated Intel-based Smart Home hub. Another initiative is the Alex-incorporated Intel-based smart speaker as mentioned above.
According to Edison Investment Research, the company does have a long way to go, but this could be a strong start to that growth. In a commentary, Edison notes, “We would not be surprised to see Google follow suit in this strategy with Google Assistant where, once again, it will have the advantage because we have long believed that Google Assistant is vastly superior to anything else in terms if the user experience that it offers and the usefulness of its responses.”
Furthermore, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney mentioned in a research note that Amazon has, in fact, been investing in voice technology for at least the last five years. This means, he argues, that the company could introduce the next major paradigm disruption in computing.
He contends: “We’ve been hearing many of the ‘smartest people’ at Amazon want to work on Alexa because they sense it’s a major growth area for the company and will be ‘something big.’ We believe the Echo devices could be one of the (technology) gifts this holiday season.”