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Amazon’s Alexa Getting Around

Seattle – Amazon will let manufacturers of CE and other products tap into its Alexa Cloud-based voice service, which debuted in Amazon’s Echo smart speaker to access information and music services via natural-language voice commands.

CE makers, automakers and makers of commercial products will be able to integrate the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) into any Internet-connected devices with a speaker and microphone for free with only a few lines of code, the company said.  Companies don’t need any experience in speech recognition or natural language understanding, Amazon added. A developer’s preview will be available next month to let companies develop products.

Wink, ToyMail and Scout Alarm have already announced plans to integrate Alexa.

Amazon’s $179 Echo, available July 14 to the general public, is a 9.25-inch-tall cylindrical speaker with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and omnidirectional audio output. Users issue voice commands to hear the day’s calendar appointments, access music-streaming services, and get news, weather, sports and traffic updates as well as get answers to general questions.  It also enables voice control of Belkin WeMo and Philips Hue home-automation devices as well as home-automation devices that use the IFTTT service.

Amazon said it sees potential for such CE devices as a Wi-Fi alarm clock that lets consumers ask for a weather report or their schedule for the day, a home sound system that lets consumers tell it to play back a specific playlist, a TV that responds to commands spoken through a handheld remote, and a car infotainment system that response to voice.

For its part, Wink will use AVS to let consumers monitor and control its home-automation system, while Scout Alarm sees customers using their voice to arm their system or remotely monitor their home. ToyMail, which makes Wi-Fi-connected toys that send and receive voice messages, will use AVS to enable families to exchange voice messages. The company’s Mailman toys will respond to voice commands to read an audio book.