New Amazon CEO Enthusiastic About Voice Commerce Through Fire TV
New Amazon CEO Andy Jassy sees a bright future for voice commerce, particularly through the new Amazon-produced Fire TVs, according to his comments in a CNBC interview. He speculated that it won’t be long before buying by voice is overwhelmingly more popular than using fingers to tap on apps and make purchases.
So Circa 2005
Jassy’s interview comes just a couple of weeks before the anticipated debut of new Alexa-enabled hardware and new features. Amazon unveils the new lineup in the fall every year around this time, but it will be a first for Jassy since he officially replaced Jeffrey Bezos as CEO of the tech giant in July after previously running Amazon Web Services. Bezos, now the chairman of the board, had helped set the trajectory for Alexa and Amazon’s smart home devices every year until now. Jassy seems to be on the same page when it comes to the value of and potential for voice tech.
Jassydescribed the evolution of home tech and how people make purchases as a road leading ever more toward voice control over the current standards of mobile apps. The commerce element is born, in part, out of the improvements in smart home tech in general and with the ever-widening capacity of Alexa as a voice assistant. The result will be a shift toward relying on Alexa and the visuals on a smart TV like Amazon’s newest collection, to decide what to buy.
“You know, between what we do with Alexa and what we do in, in the living room, I think we have an opportunity to change what’s possible for people and what’s accessible to people,” Jassy said during the interview. “When you experience great voice apps, it makes tapping on an app so circa 2005. And so, I think all those experiences are in the process of being reinvented and you’ll see a lot more of that moving forward.”
The new televisions are essentially very large Echo Show smart displays, with one of the new models building Alexa into it so that the voice assistant will respond even if the TV is off. The TVs are branded as ‘Amazon-built,’ as opposed to the Fire TV Editions, which layer Amazon’s software over another company’s television. Alexa is also getting upgraded for TVs. The voice assistant will offer recommendations and engage in conversation about what to watch based on genre, performers, and awards. Those who want something faster can ask Alexa to just play something on Netflix from the home screen, and the streaming service will open and begin playing something its algorithm suggests they may like. The X-Ray feature is getting an upgrade and better integration with the voice assistant where users can ask who an actor on the screen is, and the information will appear on the bottom of the screen.
The focus on voice commerce makes sense considering some of the latest research. A recent Juniper report estimated that voice assistants will handle $19.4 billion in transactions by 2023. That 320% growth from the expected $4.6 billion this year is tied both to greater accessibility to voice assistants and people getting more comfortable with making purchases. Amazon recently began running a sales conversion through Alexa beta,in July, and companies like ManiLife and Bayer Consumer Health’s Berocca campaign are both relying on Alexa to help make sales.