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Alexa matures into the voice of the networked economy

Would it have been more successful if it had been “Finch”, “Friday” or “Samantha”?

This is something to consider when we celebrate the 7th birthday of Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa. These were some of the names that were brainstormed in Brad Stone’s 2021 book, Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire.

Stone told WBUR Boston, “The idea for Alexa came from Bezos in late 2010, and he’s looking for a way to take advantage of Amazon in the cloud … He’s a huge science fiction fan. He thinks the future of computing could be a voice. “

Bezos was right that the voice was central to how people interact with computers, with Alexa-enabled devices now accounting for a dominant 69% share of the US smart speaker market, with Google at 25%, according to GeekWire reports and Apple valued at around 25% is 5%.

Bezos was so concerned about the name of his voice interface that project engineers reportedly felt like he was micromanaging the process. This suggests the importance attached to retail tech visionary Alexa, who at just 7 years old is playing a huge role in the connected economy.

As Karen Webster of PYMNTS recently wrote, “Seven years ago Alexa 1.0 was about using a humanized voice to build consumer trust [artificial intelligence (AI)] Application called Alexa and discover the hands-free functionality of a simple spoken command to master the everyday. Over time, its voice AI operating system has the potential to bring consumers and businesses closer to an ever-connected retail ecosystem. “

Continue reading: Voice operating systems like Alexa will drive the connected economy

New networked use cases and a secret revealed

Until Stone’s disclosure, the source of Alexa’s calming sound was believed to be an Amazon trade secret. The book informs us when we say: “Alexa, how high is the temperature?” The speaking voice belongs to the voice actress Nina Rolle. Officially, Amazon will neither confirm nor deny.

Whoever the voice belongs to, Alexa has made herself heard and has gone from being a simple voice assistant to an operating system for the networked economy.

As Webster wrote, “Alexa and voice AI are to the connected economy what Microsoft was to PC in 1990 and iOS and Android 2008 were to smartphones: the operating system that will help it scale.”

And scaling is it. As mentioned earlier, Alexa’s installed base dwarfs that of the two closest big tech competitors, and Amazon plans to connect this ecosystem even more closely.

When it announced its third quarter results on October 28, Amazon announced a new subscription service called Alexa Together. The service, which is currently putting subscribers on the waiting list before it is launched in the first quarter of next year, is intended to “help older family members to feel more comfortable and self-confident in an independent life”. It includes 24/7 hands-free access to an emergency hotline, compatibility with third-party devices that detect falls, and an optional remote assist feature for caregivers.

That event also featured Astro – think of Alexa in the shape of a robot dog – with the ability to handle many Alexa voice commands while monitoring connected home devices, including ring doorbell cameras, while playing music, and a good one handle more.

As PYMNTS found in its How Consumers Live in a Connected Economy study, Amazon tops the list of companies – including banks – that consumers trust most for their data and payment information.

Get the study: How consumers live in a networked economy

That study found that “among the ‘super-connected’ consumers – those who have at least six connected devices – and the bridged Millennials … PayPal (44%), Apple (41%), and primary banks (35%).”

These numbers say a lot about Alexa’s future role as a pioneer in the connected economy.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: THE HOLIDAY SHOPPING OUTLOOK 2021

Above: It’s almost time for the Christmas shopping season, and nearly 90% of US consumers plan to do at least some of their purchases online – 13% more than in 2020. PYMNTS surveyed more than 3,600 consumers as part of the Holiday Shopping Outlook 2021 to Learn more about what is driving online sales this holiday season and the impact of product availability and personalized rewards on retailer preferences.

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