Amazon is bringing Alexa to the iPhone today right inside of the company's main app. While this isn't the first time Alexa has been on a smartphone -- third parties have made it happen already -- this is the first time it's coming directly from Amazon. And it could be a huge help to anyone who's filling their home with Alexa-enabled devices. Inside of the Amazon App for iOS, there will be a microphone icon near the top of the screen that you can press to call up Alexa. You'll be able to ask the assistant almost anything you'd normally be able to ask through a device like the Echo.
Computers may not wear tennis shoes (yet), but thanks to developing artificial intelligence technologies, they're smarter than ever before. Along with those technologies has come a relatively new category of computer science called machine learning, or ML. Similar to statistics, ML involves computer systems that utilize algorithms to automatically learn about data, recognize patterns, and make decisions, all without outside intervention or explicit directions from human beings. In the real world, you can find it being used in smart assistants like Siri and the Amazon Echo, in online fraud detection services, in the facial recognition feature that identifies photos of you on Facebook, and more recently, in Tesla's self-driving car. ML is distinctive in the world of AI in that it can be used to process vast amounts of data quickly, making it a desirable tech skill among job applicants not only in the fields of computer science and engineering, but also marketing, health care, finance, social media, and beyond.
In a recent report, the National Retail Federation projected online sales in 2017 will grow three times faster than in-store sales. The report suggests 51% of Americans prefer to shop online rather than in stores--a figure that jumps to 67% for millennials and 56% for Gen Xers. With Amazon accounting for 43% of online sales in the US, only store sales will be disrupted more in the coming months. Additionally, eCommerce sales are also expected to reach $4 trillion by 2020 – making it 14.6% of total retail spending that year. So what does this mean for retailers?
Hot on the heels of its addition to the Amazon app on the iPhone, Alexa is looking to make its presence known on Android, too. Huawei has announced that the virtual assistant is on its way to the Mate 9, making it the first Android phone to receive Amazon's AI aide. With Alexa on the Mate 9, you'll be able to do many of the things the Echo and Dot can do, including control your home automation devices while you're away. Huawei is touting its smart home capabilities as the flagship feature of Alexa on the Mate 9, but it can also handle many of the other skills Alexa has on Amazon's devices, including the ability to play games, shop at Amazon.com, get news updates, track your workouts, and play podcasts. Furthermore, you can use it to get information about people, places, and events, check your Google or Outlook calendar, find local businesses, and get weather and traffic updates.
Amazon Prime Day will be about more than deals and one of the biggest e-commerce days of the year. It'll really be about voice. Last year's Prime Day help seed what turned out to be an Alexa everywhere strategy that put multiple Echos in homes. With Prime Day kicking off Monday it's worth noting that Amazon's Echo Show is likely to garner a lot of interest and sales. Keep in mind that Amazon is pushing its own brands throughout Prime Day.