There is no question that Amazon’s Alexa voice controlled operating system is a huge success. Not only does it successfully deliver voice interaction that actually works but it has already created a working SDK around it that allows it to scale and adapt to a range of devices and features. A new patent filed by Amazon shows where the company is looking to expand upon Alexa and the direction appears to be one in which Amazon is looking to compete in every space including the market for telecoms.
Using existing technology
Amazon intends to incorporate existing VoIP technology similar to Vonage and Skype into Alexa except there is a key difference, the technology will be embedded directly into the hardware. According to the patent, the Alexa service will link directly to the user’s network carrier and then route all calls directly to the Alexa device using the network. The Alexa powered device will make use of the phone and its network carrier, the device itself however will not be required for interaction and Alexa phones will take care of all aspects of the conversation.
Exceptional voice recognition is the key difference
None of this is ground breaking technology as hands-free calling is already available and it is already possible to use services such as Vonage on a variety of devices around the house. The key difference here is that Amazon is banking on its exceptional voice recognition software which is able to pick up your voice from a much further location, making it more hands-free that the vast majority of devices out there. Costs associated with the Alexa device will be billed as usual to the specified network carrier. Unfortunately for now the feature will only be available to US customers, however Amazon definitely has plans to expand internationally.
Amazon to challenge handset makers
As we said this is not Amazon’s most ground-breaking technology but it does represent the first tentative steps by the company to enter into a new market where they likely innovate further and add features. In fact, Amazon may well end up seriously challenging the handset market. Who knows we may see holographic video calling in the future! Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the market responds to the threat.