The much anticipated Amazon Echo has finally launched in New Zealand and the Smart Living team will be putting it through its paces. If you’re unfamiliar with The Echo, it’s the world’s first smart speaker that has taken the rest of the world by storm. With a selection of three speaker sizes, prices range from $89NZD to $269NZD.
Powered by the digital assistant Alexa, it is a voice activated, connected speaker which can control your smart home, tell you the weather, play music, answer trivia questions, add items to a shopping list and add upcoming events to your calendar.
What makes Amazon Echo so powerful is that any business can develop apps known as ‘Skills’ that integrate Amazon Echo with their products. Sky Television is one of the first to introduce its own Skill that allows users to ask Alexa what programmes are on, when they are on and what channel they’re on. Air New Zealand has also released a Skill which will allow users to conveniently ask Alexa check their flight status.
We’re particularly excited as it is revolutionising home automation by allowing us to finally control our smart connected homes with just our voice. We believe this will be a particularly powerful solution for many of our clients with a disability. We’ll be testing Amazon Echo and Alexa by integrating it with KNX and Fibaro.