Widgets Magazine

Alexa in the Car, and the Office

There are some that don’t pay attention to CES, the annual consumer electronics gather in Vegas every January. It is filled with USB gadgets, smart refrigerators, and devices that have little impact on the commercial AV market. You need to, though.
Our host for Connected!, David Danto, attends CES nearly every year. He keeps trying to get me to go. This year may have been the tipping point. All because of Amazon Alexa.
I have written and said on several shows that I think the voice control device will come to roost in the corporate setting sooner than we may think. This year’s CES proved why that is even more probable. That is the integration of Alexa into Ford Sync.
Ford Sync is the car manufacturer’s voice interface and infotainment system. In adding Alexa to this interface, you are creating ubiquitousness to Alexa. Yes, it is only in one car companies interface now, but just you wait.
The idea that an executive would get familiar with interfacing with Alexa in their home, and now their car, adds, even more, the likelihood they would look for it in the other place they spend the majority of their time; their office.
Amazon Echo stock imageI must reiterate this. Alexa, or any voice control, will never take over as the single interface. There should always be physical interface users can control the systems in their homes and offices. Much like the car experience, you can give commands with voice or reach over and adjust the temperature or radio station with the push of a button. The two are not mutually exclusive but complimentary.
Get yourself an Amazon Echo with Alexa if you don’t have one. If you do, begin connecting it to the control system of your choice. Figure out the hooks you and your programmers need to make it work. This is a great experiment for your test and mock-up room. Don’t you have a mock-up conference room? That will have to wait for another blog.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

About Author

Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.

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  1. The problem for Alexa is the foundation difference. Google built theirs based on inference and NOT commands. So with Google Home you just talk naturally and say what you want. Wife can say it one way and I a completely different way and get the same result.
    We have had the Echo since it was launched and now have several of the Google Homes. We keep the Echo in the kitchen and then Google Homes in our bedroom and then the kids have their in their bedrooms.
    My fav feature right now is the ability to stay warm under the covers and control the TV. Just started working last week without me adding a skill or anything.
    Actually wife discoverd when watching a movie and kid walked into our room. Not sure if she was joking as she now does in situation that Google Home is NOT available. So like sitting at a traffic light she will say “hey google change light green”. She said “hey google pause” and the movie paused. When kid left she said “hey google rewind” and it went back some set amount.
    The Echo is a great piece of technology but the Google Home is just different as it seems to have more of a brain inside.

    • Jack, thank you. Now I have to go out and get the Google Home. My wife is going to love that.
      I see voice as another step in making technology approachable for a wider audience regardless of who is the backend.

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