As the competition in the smart home speaker ecosystem intensifies, Amazon is looking to expand the reach of its AI-powered voice assistant ‘Alexa’ to an even larger array of devices. While the company already enables hardware makers to integrate Alexa into their devices, Amazon is now providing them access to its widely acclaimed microphone hardware found on Echo devices and proprietary voice processing technology.
As stated in the official press statement, both of these are being clubbed and being made available in the form of Amazon Alexa 7-Mic Far-Field Development Kit. It includes the company’s circular high-performance far-field mic array (with seven microphones) which helps an Alexa device pick up commands even amidst noisy environments. This is coupled with Amazon’s voice recognition software tech which comes in handy for several purposes.
Firstly, third-party hardware makers will now be able to integrate the hotword/wake word ‘Alexa’ into their devices as well. And this integration will be truly intuitive and seamless as the kit also provides other features such as beam forming, noise reduction, acoustic echo cancellation, and barge-in capabilities found in the Amazon Echo. So, if you’ve signed up for this kit, which is supported by most leading chipset makers, then you can instantly integrate Alexa into your products.
Commenting on the release, Priya Abani, Director, Amazon Alexa said,
With this new reference solution, developers can design products with the same unique 7-mic circular array, beamforming technology, and voice processing software that have made Amazon Echo so popular with customers. It’s never been easier for device makers to integrate Alexa and offer their customers world-class voice experiences.
While Amazon is keen to expand the reach of its virtual assistant, this initiative is still being kept under some scrutiny. The company will provide select hardware makers access to the technology through an exclusive & invite-only program. There is currently no info on manufacturers who’ve already got their hands on the dev kit but you can apply for the program and request an invite, if interested. The future beholds the rampant rise of AI voice assistant devices, so it would probably be a wise decision for hardware makers to take action at this opportune moment
The future beholds the rampant rise of AI voice assistant devices, so it would probably be a wise decision for hardware makers to take action at this opportune moment. Also, as the contest between AI assistants intensifies, there is currently guarantee on who’ll emerge as the leader but Alexa is surely leading the race at the instant. It was the first to popularise the concept and has already made over 10k skills (or services) accessible to users through its Echo device lineup. I