Epson Announces Alexa-Enabled Printers
Epson printers are now compatible with Amazon Alexa. All EcoTank, WorkForce, and Expression printers that support the Epson Connect platform can now be controlled via an Amazon Alexa smart speaker. This adds Epson to the growing list of Alexa-enabled printers and exemplifies Amazon’s ‘Alexa everywhere’ strategy.
Epson users can print traditional documents, and ask their printers to print shopping lists, to-do lists, craft items, and calendars with Alexa. With Amazon’s Skill Connections feature, customers can also print from select skills, such as Allrecipes.com. Epson plans to include support for multiple voice assistants by early 2019.
Printing by Voice is a Growing Capability
HP became the first printer company to enable voice commands in partnership with existing smart speaker platforms when they announced their plans for the integration of multiple voice assistants, including Alexa in January. The HP Printer Skill enables users to print games, coloring pages, to-do lists, notebook paper, forms, amongst your regular printing needs. HP printers also integrate with Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana.
And this summer, Canon also announced Alexa integration which allows users to check their printer’s ink status and print coloring pages, puzzles, games, and check-lists. The company also stated at the time that they planned to include support for Google Assistant-enabled devices towards the end of this year, although they have not released a date yet.
Is There Consumer Interest in Voice Enabled Printers?
All of the voice-enabled printers to date seem to offer more or less the same commands, and the same ink cartridge level updates. With such a large push these days for more and more documents to go digital, having an in-home printer is becoming less of a necessity for consumers. It is doubtful that the the inclusion of voice assistants in printers can help recapture consumer’s waning interest. But, HP thinks differently. HP’s Anneliese Olson comments,
Integrating voice into the home printer is an undeniably useful application of the technology. For busy families, the virtual assistant ecosystem makes a lot of sense and connecting a printer to it is a natural extension within the smart home.
There is a convenience factor in having a voice-integrated printer in the home. However, the necessity of having a printer in the home could be on the decline for consumers. Regardless of Alexa, Google Assistant or Microsoft Cortana integration.