Amazon is determined to increase its footprint in the smart home. To make a step in that direction, the company has unveiled a range of new Echo devices and made a number of Alexa updates, especially around home security functionality. Until we get to a point where Alexa is truly smart and no longer needs the user's input to function, which currently seems a long way off, the challenge for Amazon will be to find an effective way for its customers to understand and use Alexa's new functions.
Amazon's recent announcements revolve around making Alexa smarter, more useful, and omnipresent in more devices while making progress in home security as a target market. These are some examples of Alexa's new functions:
Alexa's new functionality shows a glimpse of the potential of AI assistants in the smart home – helping to keep the home safe and secure. Ovum expects the role of AI assistants to continue expanding in 2019 as the race for the smart home intensifies. However, one important consideration is that users will need more assistance to navigate Alexa's growing functionality, especially if they want to customize their smart living experience and protect their homes. At present, the amount of commands a user can learn or even remember is limited. The key for Amazon will be to continue developing features, such as Hunches, that increase Alexa's proactiveness as a virtual assistant. Additionally, Amazon must overcome current adoption barriers by delivering a consistent user experience, tackling trust issues, and preventing potential vulnerabilities.
AI Assistant Tracker: 1H18, CES006-000029 (August 2018)
Smart Home Case Study: Amazon consolidates its position in the smart home market, CES006-000021 (May 2018)
"Amazon expands its service portfolio to gain traction in the smart security market," CES006-000023 (May 2018)
Mariana Zamoszczyk, Senior Analyst, Consumer Services