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Customer service is poised for an AI revolution

ZDNet

These are the questions your firm should ask before going down the route of edge analytics and processing. If you're anything like me (or millions of other everyday consumers), you may be surprised to contact customer service only to be prompted with a litany of questions about who you are and what you're issue is. If I dial a service line, I've been conditioned to expect a friendly voice -- real or not -- that recognizes my phone number and asks if I'm calling about a recent transaction. What's more, I expect a similar experience if I connect over a myriad other digital touchpoints. Such is the level of sophistication we as customers now hold as standard, and the impacts on customer service are nothing short of transformational.


Alexa's new Song ID feature can announce what music is playing next

#artificialintelligence

Amazon today is launching a new feature called "Song ID" that aims to help users discover music they like by using Alexa. When enabled, Alexa will announce the title and the artist name before playing each song while you're listening to a radio station, playlist or new release on Amazon Music over your smart speaker. The optional feature for Echo devices can be enabled or disabled by voice at any time by asking Alexa to "turn on Song ID" or "turn off Song ID." When listening to music through mobile or desktop apps, it's easy to give a quick glance at your streaming app to note an artist's name or song's title. But when you're streaming music over a smart speaker, your device may be put away and not as easily accessible.


Ninety7 Sky Tote Portable Battery Base review: Take your second-gen Amazon Echo anywhere

PCWorld

Amazon's decision to design its second-generation Amazon Echo smart speaker with a removable sleeve makes the device customizable. But there's a hidden feature I wasn't aware of until I installed Ninety7's Sky Tote Portable Battery Base: a set of electrical contacts tucked behind a rubber plug on the bottom of the speaker. These contacts enable the Echo 2 to draw power directly from the Sky Tote's large battery, which is charged in turn by the AC adapter that comes with the Echo 2. Operating your Echo 2 on battery power allows you to take the smart speaker with you into any room in your home or even into the yard if your Wi-Fi network is strong enough to reach there. That's a much less expensive alternative to putting an Echo in every room for smart home control, or investing in a multi-room audio system so you can listen to music everywhere. You can also take a battery-powered Echo 2 on picnics and camping trips if you create a mobile hotspot with your smartphone.


How to make the most of Roku voice controls

PCWorld

If you want to control a Roku player or Roku smart TV by voice, you have lots of options. Many Roku devices include a remote control that supports voice commands, and you can also control Roku hands-free with an Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speaker. But along with all those voice control options comes several limitations, especially when it comes to launching videos or TV channels directly. Knowing what Roku can and can't do will spare you some headaches when you're barking out orders. We'll talk through how to get set up with Roku voice controls, a list of supported voice commands, and some tips for making your experience smoother.


Snag two Echo Dot Kids Edition devices for the price of one at Amazon

Mashable

You know that Amazon's Alexa can answer your questions, control smart devices, and queue your music, but did you know that Alexa is also a kid-friendly DJ, comedian, and storyteller? That's how Amazon describes its Echo Dot Kids Edition, equipped with a kid-friendly Alexa assistant. If you have more than one kid and they're not into sharing, we have some good news: Amazon is running a buy one get one free deal on the Echo Dot Kids Edition with the code KIDS2PACK, meaning you just pay $69.99 for two of the devices. Your kids can ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, read stories, tell jokes, and more, and every response will have younger ears in mind. So, you can rest easy knowing your children won't be exposed to adult content.


Six of the best 4k HDR TVs

The Guardian

Your current TV is showing its age. Its resolution is resolutely HD (so very 00s) and it doesn't even respond to voice commands, no matter how loud you bawl. Maybe the time has come to upgrade to something cutting edge. Connected smart TVs are now standard fare. With integrated streaming services, you can season binge from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video without the need for an additional set top box or dongle – or multiple remotes.


You can add 2 TP-Link smart outlets to your home for just $25 today

PCWorld

It's cheaper and easier than ever to add some smarts to your home, and today you can make two of your dumb devices smarter for the lowest price we've ever seen. B&H Photo Video is selling the TP-Link HS107 Wi-Fi dual-outlet smart plug for $25Remove non-product link with the on-page coupon today, down from a list price of $35. The coupon applies $10 off for each plug that you buy, so you can get multiple at this price. This smart plug comes with two individually controlled outlets, so you'll be able to plug in and control two devices at once. Using the connected Kasa app, you'll be able to turn devices off and on or create schedules from anywhere using your mobile device.


Best robot vacuums: We name the most effective cleaners

PCWorld

Your message has been sent. There was an error emailing this page. Vacuuming is one of the most loathed household chores. While it doesn't come with the ick factor of cleaning the toilet or the tedium of dusting, pushing and dragging a noisy, cumbersome vacuum is its own kind of torture. No wonder most of us only break it out the bare-minimum-recommended once a week.


How to create your own Alexa skills via Blueprints

Mashable

You've probably used your Amazon Echo for a variety of tasks and skills, from listening to music and playing games to finding information and controlling smart home devices. But what if you could create your own Alexa skills? You can, thanks to a feature called Alexa Blueprints. You can use templates to create your own stories and games, or concoct personalized answers to specific questions. After completing your custom skills, you have the option to limit them to just your own household so only you and your family can access them, or you can share them with the world.


AirPods finally get update with wireless charging, Siri and more talk time

USATODAY

With some new and improved features. The second generation of AirPods have finally arrived. Following a hardware update cycle that saw new iPads on Monday and refreshed iMacs on Tuesday, Apple released the long-awaited update to AirPods Wednesday. Keeping the same name and largely same design as the original AirPods first released in 2016, the new earbuds start at $199 and come with a new wireless charging case, the ability to wirelessly summon Siri and Apple's new H1 chip which promises to add an extra hour of talk time. The wireless charging case, which has a little light on the front to indicate when it is charging, uses the same Qi-standard found on recent iPhones and Android devices.