Alexa Enables Third-Party Smart Device Proactive Announcements
Amazon has given Alexa device developers the ability to enable proactive status announcements for the first time. These third-party devices controlled by Amazon’s voice assistant will now tell users when, for instance, their clothes are dried or when there’s an issue with their automated vacuum cleaner. The new feature builds on the expanding range of preemptive actions taken by Alexa devices over the last couple of years.
Developers of smart home devices operated through Alexa can activate the proactive notification for several types of devices. The templates offered to developers connect certain status changes in the device to Alexa, alerting the user when things are complete or there’s an issue preventing a device from completing its task. The initial set of announcement templates is limited but will be expanded upon, according to Amazon. Cleaning and kitchen appliances are the center of the current range of proactive announcements, including smart washing machines and ovens.
“At Anova, our mission is to make our products accessible, simple and connected in a meaningful way to our food nerd community,” Anova Culinary director of marketing Anastasia Plotnikova said in a statement. “Food nerds can now receive announcements of cooking progress on a connected Anova Precision Oven with Alexa when their oven has preheated, the food has reached the target temperature and even that their food is ready, making it easier than ever to get pro-level results at home.”
The announcements offer developers access to a feature previously limited to Amazon’s own devices. Anticipating and getting ahead of a user’s needs has been a central element of many of Alexa’s new features after upgrading the Alexa AI last year. Teachable AI, for instance, lets the user directly instruct Alexa about their preferences. Alexa’s latent goal inference is built on the same principle of extrapolating more of what a customer wants. The latent goal inference feature might suggest a timer when asked how long a certain dish takes to cook, for instance. Alexa Hunches can even proactively operate smart home devices without needing to ask. The company later expanded on what it could remember for users when it started allowing for proactive reminders of events with uncertain times. Users can now ask to be alerted by Alexa whenever a sports game begins or someone specific sends an email to them. The alerts and announcements from third-party smart home devices are just a new angle on the same idea.
“Leveraging this new capability, developers can have Alexa engage customers in the most natural way – using voice – to inform them of task progress on their smart home devices,” Amazon explained in a blog post. “With device status announcements, manufacturers can alert customers when their Smart Home device needs attention or inform them of task progress, differentiating their products. Manufacturers such as GE Appliances, iRobot, Eufy, Anova, and Samsung are the first to implement device status announcements to make their Alexa-connected devices proactive and helpful to customers. With this new feature, you don’t have to worry about crafting individual device status announcements. Amazon provides pre-built templates to easily construct the right device status announcement.”