There was a lot of concern over the collection and usage of personal data in 2018 – and it's easy to see why. With data breaches occurring more frequently than ever before, the growing threat of malicious software and the potential for data loss or corruption, consumers have the right to know what kind of information is being recorded and how it's being used.
Many companies came under fire in 2018 – including Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant and theEcho device. The premise is simple: Echo waits for a keyword from the user before it begins recording audio. In order to achieve this, however, it has to actively monitor its environment – and the spoken words within – to detect the user's keyword.
While it's highly controversial to some, others see it as a new convenience of life in the 21st century. It's no surprise that the team at Amazon agrees – and they're planning to ramp up the presence of both Alexa and the Echo device in 2019 and the years to come.
Alexa and Echo in 2019 and Beyond
Now we're well into 2019 and Amazon already has some of their cards on the table. Some new and potentially upcoming additions to Alexa and the Echo device include:
Hunches: One of the most innovative and unique ideas we've seen thus far, Hunches utilizes Alexa's predictive functionality to remind you of daily chores and necessities. This includes reminders to lock your doors, shut of your lights, and more. Hunches was unveiled through a large software update that was released in December 2018.
Alexa Guard: Another highly innovative concept, Alexa Guard is live as of December 2018. It essentially serves as an add-on security service to Alexa by listening for the sound of breaking glass, burglar alarms and smoke detectors. It has a complementary feature that integrates with the home monitoring services of ADT and Ring, too.
Per recent statistics, the total number of smart home devices in circulation is closing in on 30,000 at the beginning of 2019 – up from approximately 20,000 as repoted in September 2018. Additionally, 150 products – including headphones, personal computers and even vehicles – feature integrated Alexa functionality.
We will undoubtedly see even more integration in 2019 and beyond. With nearly 5,000 brands that offer Alexa-compatible devices today, there will be no shortage of new devices in the coming weeks, months and years.
However, Amazon and Alexa will surely require access to even more personal data in the future. Whether or not consumers will continue to embrace the next-gen platform remains to be seen, but recent reports indicate a consistent rise in the usage of devices like Alexa and other, similar devices from other brands.
Pete Thompson, vice president with Amazon's Alexa Voice Service, touched on this subject in a recent interview by saying: ''"Data privacy and security have always been fundamental to Alexa. It's not going to work if we don't get those right."''
For more information on Amazon's Alexa service, or to create your own account, visit Amazon's official Alexa portal at www.amazon.com/alexa.
Amazon to Bolster Alexa's Presence in 2019 and Beyond
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