Future of Voice – Amazon Echo
On 1st February 2018 Amazon Echo (Gen 2) was officially launched in Australia which means that we now have a choice between the Google Home and Amazon Echo, soon we will also get to look at the Apple HomePod. We covered a full article on Google Home earlier in our Blog so be sure to read the article to get a better understanding of all the Voice Assistants that are being introduced in the Australian market.
Amazon Echo is not a new product as it was launched two years ago in US and EU but never made it to our shores. Although we had been waiting for so long it is great that we got the second generation of Amazon Echo which is better than the first generation. As always second generation has few more functionalities, better sound quality and overall better aesthetics than its predecessor.
Two years ago there was a time when there were no smart speakers in the market. It would have been a radical idea at the time to believe that we can talk openly and something or someone is listening to us. Well today it is a reality that we could be alone at home and still shouting out and someone is listening. This is all possible due to the popularity of smart speakers or as known as voice assistants. Just like “hey google” for Google Home this device can be activated by the word “Alexa”. Alexa is a small cylindrical device at 5.9 inches tall and 3.5 inches in diameter. The size is comparable to Google Home. This little device sits in your lounge room next to all your Audio/Visual gear. Amazon Echo also comes in various fabric colours as well as various skins such as walnut, oak and a metallic silver.
The sound quality of Amazon Echo is great as it has a 2.5 inch woofer which will give a fair amount of bass considering that this a single speaker solution therefore it is not to be compared to a 2.1 or 5.1 channel audio system. The high frequency sound is also fairly good since the twitter is just 0.6 inches. The overall sound quality including the mid-range is very much improved from the previous model so most of you should be fairly happy with the quality as a whole. Listening to radio and any other song using the online streaming sounds great as always. Amazon has taken care of it this time around.
The main reason to use these smart speakers is to enable the voice controlled Home Automation systems such as Vera, Fibaro, Telstra and the likes. You can simply say “Alexa turn on the lounge room lights” and bingo it works just like magic. Anything that is connected to the Amazon Echo can be controlled by voice. One more use of this voice assistant is to operate your TV without the remote by simply speaking “Alexa turn on Channel 7” or “Alexa Turn on Netflix”.
If you do not have Home Automation in place then don’t worry as there is a next version of Amazon Echo also known as “Plus” which has Home Automation built in therefore all you need to do is connect external ZigBee devices and you can begin your journey in to the future. In terms of specifications Amazon Echo Plus is similar apart from the added Home Automation Module within the cylindrical casing.
A lot of additional improvements are also on the way as updates from Amazon where you will be able to customise these speakers to the way you want them to behave. Imagine if you have set a routine for your Amazon Echo so you could say “Alexa, good morning”, and in turn it will turn on your lights and the coffeemaker starts making your morning coffee.
Welcome to the Future with Alexa!!!
Article by: Sarang Vengurlekar – Future IQ