The Amazon Echo Brings a Voice to the Internet of Things

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When did your household appliances get smarter than you? Around the same time you decided to leave the timing of your meatloaf to the digital clock on your oven? We’ve come a long way since then, but we’re spoiled—we don’t have time for manual knobs and buttons. We want everything to be controlled by voice commands. We want the household of the future, and we want it now. And now I want meatloaf, too. (Sigh.)

The Amazon Echo will bring a little of that “Jetson-esque” technology to your household.  Using far-field voice recognition spread across a seven-microphone internal array, the Echo can be heard across a kitchen counter or across a room, and responds to a variety of voice commands to inform, educate, and entertain you. It uses on-device keyword spotting to detect the trigger word that activates it, and then sends the information to Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service for interpretation and response. Because the Cloud service learns commands intelligently, the more you use the Echo, the better it will get at adapting to your speech patterns and understanding future requests.  

Want to know the latest sports scores? Ask Alexa, the voice behind the echo. Want to know the airspeed velocity of an unladen (European or African) swallow? Ask Alexa. Want your favorite music playlist from Amazon Music, Pandora, or iHeart Radio? Ask Alexa and you shall receive.

In addition to those features, Alexa and the Echo can set alarms, read your audible collection to you, or check local traffic as you rush out the door. The Echo can access your Google calendar, TuneIn news services and more. As it continues to learn from the Cloud, it will automatically update with even better and more productive features.  Want to add smart home control? The Echo is also compatible with Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink-connected products to control lights and switches on your vocal commands. The Internet of Things has arrived, and Alexa and the Echo is its voice.

With 360° of immersive sound, the circular, can-shaped  Echo will deliver crisp sound with dynamic bass response in any room you place it. It’s only 9" high and 3.27" in diameter, and contains a 2" tweeter and a 2.5" woofer, with a reflex port to enhance the woofer’s output.

Available now at B&H, the Echo may be the one voice of reason in your household during the celebratory rush of the season. Get yours now and let your appliances do your bidding.

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