Amazon’s new smart-home device, the Amazon Echo, has been one of the most hyped products of 2015. It can best be thought of as a voice-driven personal assistant — think Apple’s Siri or Google Now — but in hands-free speaker form.
The Echo accepts voice commands and performs a variety of tasks, from playing (and purchasing) music, to creating shopping lists, and completing simple web searches.
In research from BI Intelligence, we test the Echo’s capabilities, and analyse its potential as a media, e-commerce, and smart-home device. We also consider its impact on Amazon’s ecosystem, and whether hands-free, voice-driven personal assistants will become a popular device category in the connected home.
The Echo is deeply integrated with Amazon’s loyalty program, Amazon Prime. The Echo retails for $US99 to Prime members and $US199 to non-Prime members. The device ties into other Prime-only services such as Amazon Prime Music.
- We found the Echo performs well as a voice-activated music player and for very basic internet search queries, but still has a long way to go before it can be effective for shopping and e-commerce or as a full-fledged digital assistant.
- We believe the Echo’s full potential could be unlocked if Amazon improves e-commerce integration and opens the Echo to a wider variety of third-party apps. The Echo’s voice-purchasing feature, which allows users to initiate Amazon purchases with simple voice commands, points to wider e-commerce tie-ins.
The full report:
- Tests the Echo’s music, news, weather, connected home, trivia, and e-commerce features
- Analyses the potential for the Echo and other voice-driven personal assistants in the connected home
- Examines the current demand for the Echo and how it is outstripping current supply
- Considers the opportunity in smart-home digital-assistant devices
- Provides a forecast of the market for voice-recognition and -processing tech
- Tests the Echo’s voice-recognition software on specific queries
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Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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