Keeping multiple voice assistants in your home can lead to the occasional misfire, causing a far-flung device in the bedroom to react while you're attempting to extract the weather forecast from the one in your living room. Amazon addressed this quirk with its own Echo devices in 2016 and now it's bringing that improved listening functionality to all third-party devices. Every Alexa-enabled gadget should finally be on the same page when you ask a question in your assistant-laden home of the future. Amazon's discretionary listening feature, Echo Spatial Perception (ESP), enables Echo devices to determine which device is closest to the user when multiple speakers hear the same voice command. Amazon has made the feature available to third-party devices in the past, although those participating devices required additional software, making it a toss-up whether that non-Echo device you just bought supported the feature.
Amazon on Wednesday announced that Alexa for Business, the office integration of Amazon's voice-activated assistant, now works with any device with Alexa built in, including third-party devices. Previously, organizations had to use Alexa for Business via the Amazon Echo. The update "represents a significant opportunity for device makers," Pete Thompson, VP of the Alexa Voice Service, said in a statement. It allows device makers to "address the growing demand for voice in organizations." Launched last year, Alexa for Business is a natural expansion of Amazon's AI assistant, which is already dominating the consumer market for smart speakers and voice interfaces.
Amazon launched more than 70 new products -- new Echo Auto, Echo Show, Echo Dot, Fire TV Recast and even a wall clock -- as it continues to put Alexa everywhere. Amazon got to this point in the smart assistant race by winning the developer ground war and adding features at a pace that rhymes with Amazon Web Services. Now by the numbers Amazon didn't have a new application programming interface or Alexa feature for every new device, but it felt like it did as David Limp, head of Amazon's device unit, rifled through product updates and demos. Locks, clocks, microwaves and a bunch of other items will soon have Alexa. Limp said Amazon is making Alexa more "conversational" and less "transactional."
If you recently purchased an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Amazon Tap you might be left wondering "Well, now what?" Nothing to fear, my friend. There's a lot to get through in order to get a smart assistant to do the heavy lifting of your home automation. And while we've gone over the seemingly endless list of everything that works with Alexa, there are some fundamental settings you might want to familiarize yourself with first. Below you'll find a step-by-step guide on how to manage your new Alexa-enabled device. The first thing you'll see when you get into the Settings tab of the Alexa mobile app or at alexa.amazon.com is a list of some pretty generic settings.
Triby follows simple verbal commands the same way the Echo does, as well as streams music and connects smart devices. Their similar purposes likely make Triby an obvious example of what a non-Amazon device can do with AVS. But where the Echo is a static command hub, Triby is a battery-powered portable device users can tote around. Also, it has something else the Echo doesn't: a display screen. The screen is flanked by several buttons and a large speaker grille, making the Triby look more like a familiar old radio than the Echo's sleek slate chic.