Smart Home technology is big business at CES with plenty of connected appliances and gadgets on display. But despite Amazon not actually having a booth at the show, it’s Alexa smart assistant is absolutely everywhere, with company’s tripping over themselves to let you know that their devices work with Alexa.
For those not in the know, Alexa is basically a Siri or Cortana for your home. She understands normal speech commands and in a connected home can be used to control a variety of devices, from music players to smart lights. You’ll even find her in Ford cars later this year.
In the US Alexa links in with Amazon’s massive store, meaning you can do your shopping with her and have groceries delivered right to your door. And of course she’ll find and play videos from Amazon Prime.
In order to give people a sense of what a smart home can be like, Intel and Amazon have built the Tiny Smart Home. This 210 square foot house — seriously, it’s tiny — is packed with over 20 smart products, all being controlled via Alexa.
For an Aussie who’s never had the full smart home experience, the demonstration was absolutely amazing. It kicked off with some very controls: “Alexa turn off the lights” and “Alexa what’s the weather like today?”.
But it was the more complex chained commands that knocked my socks off. “Alexa, start movie time” made the light turn off, the blinds close and a projection screen go down. The projector was connected to an Amazon Fire TV, so that fired up instantly.
The last one was “Alexa, start good morning”. That put the lights on, started some music, adjust the temperature settings and even flicked on the kettle.
We’ve got a long way to go in Australia before our homes are going to be that smart, but based on what I’ve seen here at CES, I’d like that to come sooner rather than later. At the very least, could 2017 be the year that Amazon Alexa comes down under? Please?