Alexa Will Automatically Adjust Volume to be Heard When It’s Loud
Amazon has added a new feature to Alexa to make sure users can hear the voice assistant even when there’s a lot of noise in the area. The adaptive volume option enables Alexa to measure decibel level in the space when activated and compensate for noise by automatically upping its volume to where the user should hear it.
The noise that prompts the volume change could be anything from a dishwasher if Alexa is alerted from an Echo in the kitchen to loud chatter and music at a party. The adaptive volume feature can be activated by asking Alexa to turn it on or through the Alexa mobile app. Amazon hasn’t said when or if adaptive volume will become available outside of the U.S., but presumably, that will occur in the near future as other features have, barring any unforeseen issues.
“Customers in the U.S. can now enable Adaptive Volume, a feature that allows Alexa to adjust speaking to a higher volume in response to their questions when Alexa detects loud background noise in their surroundings,” Amazon explained in a blog post. “This helps ensure that Alexa’s responses are always audible.”
Amazon didn’t indicate if the dynamic volume shift will make Alexa quieter when it is set high, and the room isn’t loud, a gap the suggests it’s only adaptive in one direction. The volume can be automatically shifted by making it part of an Alexa routine tied to a time or voice command. Those preferring a more subdued sound from the voice assistant can ask Alexa to turn on whisper mode. Alexa will then speak in a very quiet whisper for as long as the user keeps their own voice low.
Adjusting the volume automatically marks another example of Amazon making Alexa more proactive, especially since 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. 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. Most recently, third-party developers were given the option to set up proactive announcements from their devices through Alexa.