Amazon's Alexa can now tell microwaves how to cook

Krales  The Verge

Krales The Verge

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 functions won't work with existing microwaves and ovens, so manufacturers will have to build new smart ovens to support Alexa. Google's own Google Assistant will also be in the spotlight - "where there's Alexa, there's likely to be Google Assistant in the mix", writes The Verge in its CES 2018 preview. Appliances that have pre-sets are needed - like microwave ovens, conventional ovens, and presumably other cooking devices like slow cookers and perhaps bread makers. Now you can build skills to enable customers in the U.S. to control their microwave ovens using Alexa.

Amazon is opening its Smart Home Skill API so cloud-based microwave ovens will be able to connect just by talking to them.

Amazon and Google are expected to remain the leaders with their Echo and Home devices, but will feel some heat from new entrants to the market. It'll also spread availability beyond the US-only skills that the new system will ship with now, to other countries.

Aside from TV controls, users will be able to access as they would an Alexa enabled smart speaker. "For example, a customer can say "Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken" or 'Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high'". Users can leverage these interfaces today for microwaves and for appliances that support preset cooking.

GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG, and Samsung are also working on integrating Alexa's cooking capabilities into their smart ovens and appliances. Whilst Amazon has a variety of vendor partners, it's not certain how rapidly support will roll out.

If Amazon does launch paid ads on Alexa, and follows through on other digital advertising projects such as videos, it could finally dominate in the one area where it has often lagged far behind other tech companies.

The new feature, called Flash Briefing, is easily set up after downloading the Amazon Alexa app on an iOS or Android device.

The chances are we'll see the Whirlpool product at CES 2018. Do let us know in the comments.

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