When digital assistants first came out, it seemed a little silly to talk into your phone and ask it basic questions to only get back straightforward answers.
A lot has changed since then, and it continues to change.
Digital assistants are advancing at a rapid pace because they are starting to be a part of our daily routines as an easy way to check the weather, news highlights, turn on and off music, turn on and off lights in your bedroom, and the list goes on…
And it’s not stopping there.
The technology and software that supports digital assistants is constantly improving to become more useful and easier to use.
While there are many companies out there right now fighting for the lead spot in this industry, there is one company that continues to improve its technology and quickly produce new products.
You probably know what company I’m talking about: Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN).
In November 2014, Amazon announced its digital personal assistant, Alexa, along with its new Echo device.
Since then, the company has released four other products:
- Amazon Echo Dot in March 2016.
- Amazon Tap in 2016.
- Amazon Echo Look in April 2017.
- Amazon Echo Show in May 2017.
In a little less than a year and a half, Amazon has released five products to further build up its personal assistant, Alexa, along with improving on Alexa’s abilities to assist its customers.
With a reasonable price of $49.99, the Echo Dot quickly became a go-to gift to get for a friend or family member or even for yourself.
Research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) estimates that Amazon has sold 5.1 million Echo Dots in the U.S. since its debut.
Obviously, Amazon has been pushing hard (and frequently) to get its personal assistant to become a significant part of our everyday lives.
Whether it’s with its digital assistant devices or its one-day shipping, Amazon wants to get information and products to you quickly, so you don’t have time to consider other options.
Amazon’s Echo Show
On May 9, 2017, Amazon announced its newest product, the Amazon Echo Show, which is set to start shipping on June 28, 2017, and has already received a lot of popularity and preorders.
Amazon Echo Show is priced at $229.99. It will have the same features as with the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, but it’s a little enhanced with its 7-inch touchscreen.
Echo Show will be able to make and receive video and voice calls but only to other Echo owners or through the Alexa app on your smartphone.
Obviously, it’ll be able to play videos from a variety of different platforms, enabling you to bring up a recipe video when you’re cooking dinner for your family.
You’ll be able to pause, play, or rewind a video just by asking Alexa to do so.
Some smart-home products that Amazon says will work with the Echo Show are Wemo, Samsung SmartThings, Philips Hue, Insteon, Ring Video Doorbell, Arlo by NETGEAR, Wink, and Ecobee.
Adding a video component to voice-only digital assistants opens up a huge territory for developers and is the beginning efforts in enhancing the digital assistant experience with consumers.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) are working hard to develop and integrate themselves into this industry.
However, Amazon remains the quickest when it comes to executing and developing products that consumers want and feel like they need.
This week, Microsoft announced that it’s on its way to catching up with Amazon. It’ll be launching its Cortana Skills Kit. The Skills Kit’s main objective is to enhance Microsoft’s current voice assistant, Cortana, in hopes that it’ll become popular and more engaging.
During this announcement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella pointed out one advantage it has over Amazon — more people use Windows 10.
At least 500 million devices use Windows 10 every month, and if those people start using Cortana on their devices, it would definitely give Amazon some serious competition. But of course, the product has to be entertaining, engaging, and useful.
In addition to Microsoft’s improvement of its digital assistant, there’s a rumor going around about how Apple could be debuting its own device that would be similar to Amazon’s Echo. It’s been speculated that this new Apple device could be revealed as early as this June.
Apple wouldn’t be debuting anything innovative but if the rumors are true, we could expect Apple to introduce more of a high-end product. And you know that dedicated Apple customers would have no qualms with snatching up this device just so they can add it to their collection of Apple products.
It’s obvious that digital assistant devices will be incorporated into most of our homes in a few years. But the real question is what company will lead the way…
Find out more about the digital assistant industry and the investing opportunities that lie ahead in consumer tech.
Until next time,