It looks like Roomba users are getting closer to having their own Jetson’s-like Rosie the Robot Maid. iRobot will soon enable Alexa voice commands for its Roomba 960 and 980 app-controlled models. The commands available will be basic functions, like start, stop and pause. In addition to Alexa integration, the iRobot Home apps will also include Clean Map reports. As the robot cleans, it builds a map of the person’s home so it can see the total area cleaned and where the users iRobot encountered the most dirt or debris. iRobot CEO Colin Angle believes the connected home is the key to the company’s future, commenting in a recent statement:
The latest updates for the iRobot HOME App make cleaning with an iRobot Roomba vacuuming robot even more user-friendly with voice-activated commands, enhanced mapping features, and useful post-cleaning reports. These are exciting next steps toward our vision of an ecosystem of home robots that work collaboratively and further enable the smart home.
iRobot is not alone in seeing smart home and voice assistant integration as a new market opportunity. Its competitors, Neato and Samsung already offer voice commands through Alexa. It remains to be seen if having Alexa integration offers a significant competitive advantage, but iRobot isn’t waiting to find out.