Amazon’s Ambient Alexa Vision Weaves Together Smart Homes, TVs, Cars, and Spaceships at CES
Amazon deluged CES 2022 with new Alexa upgrades and extensions applicable to almost anywhere people might go, including the Moon, though not including the in-person portion of CES this year that Amazon skipped. The company’s vision of Alexa as ambient AI knits the disparate news of startup investment, smarter alarm systems, TVs in cars, and other highlights.
The Road Home
Alexa accelerated the release of automotive AI tools last year, culminating with Alexa Auto SDK 4.0. and a vehicular version of the Teachable AI features in December. Cars are always a centerpiece at CES, but global automotive giant Stellantis injected a lot of fuel into Amazon’s automotive AI ambitions this year. Stellantis will embed custom Alexa assistants in millions of cars starting in 2024. The conversational AI platform supports creating a voice assistant tailored to a particular brand but supported by the same technology as Alexa. The developers can customize the new assistant’s wake word, features, voice, and other components to match their brand. The new agreement augments Amazon’s deal last year with Fiat Chrysler, a firm that now falls under the Stellantis umbrella. The STLA SmartCockpit currently under development will embed Alexa’s AI in 14 major vehicle brands like Dodge and Jeep.
“We’re excited to collaborate with Stellantis to transform the automotive industry and re-invent the in-vehicle experience. We are inventing solutions that will help enable Stellantis to accelerate connected and personalized in-vehicle experiences, so that every moment in motion can be smart, safe, and tailored to each occupant,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said in a statement. “Together, we will create the foundation for Stellantis to transform from a traditional automaker into a global leader in software-driven development and engineering.”
Alexa will also be adding new features to cars through Fire TV. The Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer debuted the first version of the automotive Fire TV, but the updated version will be available in a handful of Jeep, Ford, and Lincoln models. The revamped car version of Fire TV will allow touch or voice controls and access to most of the streaming content available. The update will also serve to integrate Alexa in the car to the home with personalized settings syncing between the two and enabling someone to pause a show at home and start watching it in the car. Amazon boasted that global sales of Fire TV devices had passed 150 million. Presumably, the new car connection will boost that number significantly.
On the homefront, Amazon announced audio upgrades to the Ring Alarm so that it can detect and identify when glass breaks from up to 25 feet away. The alert can then be incorporated into the usual response to events, whether a text or an alert the monitoring center. Amazon also revealed plans to make Alexa smart home multiply the number of compatible smart home devices. Last year’s announcement that most Echo devices would adhere to the Matter connectivity standard so that customers won’t ever be stuck with an isolated smart device. Amazon upped that commitment by making its Frustration-Free Setup documentation available to manufacturers and is working with silicon chip makers to ensure the feature is supported on their hardware.
“We believe your home will include devices from many different companies and brands. You may buy a smart refrigerator from one, a smart lock from another, and a smart light bulb from yet another,” Amazon explained. “It’s our job to bring those various devices and services together on your behalf. That’s why we are a long-time supporter of major smart home standards and protocols, including Matter”