DPAs (Digital Personal Assistants) are running our lives after 29 years since the first virtual assistant was launched even if you think you’re not using one. The integrating is there for all mobile devices and controls how we manage our day-to-day lives without us evening noticing. Amazon Alexa Virtual Assistant or Alexa launched in 2014 and more than 100m of its Echo and Dot gadgets are available in homes around the world today.
In five years, Alexa is topping the DPA market with 8.2 million users around the world and 61.1% of the US market shares of smart speakers. Amazon is adding more and more features to Alexa. This is why it’s the most intelligent of all assistants in the market.
So, who is Alexa, and what makes it such an important invention?
Alexa Virtual Assistant
In a world that is slowly accepting artificial intelligence as part and parcel of everyday life, Alexa enters as a virtual assistant AI – in essence, a digital voice that can not only recognize spoken commands (and follow through with them) but also talkback, which also makes it a companion of sorts.
With Alexa, one can do a multitude of things. Whether it is answering a plethora of questions (her knowledge knows no bounds), setting alarms, making to-do lists. Also, reading out the news, playing music, conducting internet searches and so much more.
Since Alexa works in partnership with Amazon. You also have the option to order items from the giant by quite literally just talking – how convenient is that?
Over the past few years, Alexa has slowly begun to work along with smart home tech and appliances. Such as lightbulbs, thermostats, blinds, and even security systems. This literally means that you can ask Alexa to turn off the lights, close the blinds, start your DVD player or TV, or change the temperature. All without having to lift even a single finger.
One slightly amusing feature is the ability of Alexa to understand human emotions to an extent whereby it’s able to tell if the user is annoyed and can even go to the lengths of apologizing to them (she’s got more empathy than a regular human).
Getting Started With Alexa
Alexa lives in the cloud and is more than happy to assist you as long as there is access to the internet and a device that can connect to Alexa.
That device is the Amazon Echo – Alexa puts the “smart” in Echo smart speakers, screens, and wearables. While the Echo might have a lot of devices that can work on their own, it is only through Alexa that you can have a ‘smart’ overall experience.
So, in other words, while Alexa is the voice that you talk to which helps you in your tasks, the Echo is a name given to the products themselves which house the AI i.e. Alexa. (don’t get the two confused now!)
Now that we’ve gained a basic understanding of Alexa, let’s have a look at some of its distinct features.
Amazon Alexa Features
Let’s discuss the most important features Amazon Alexa provides that make our lives smart and us smarter.
Best Home Security
Home security remains the most important subject even in this era of innovation and inventions. Amazon Alexa has recently got many features that make it the perfect home guard.
Amazon has been working to make Alexa recognize more than commands. Other than the sounds of glass breaking and smoke alarms going off. Amazon has an adds-on ability to listen to human-related sounds as Guard is set to its “away” mode. These include the sounds of walking, crying, and closing doors when no one is available at home. When hearing one of these signals, Alexa will send an alert to a client.
The Talking Doorbell, or as Amazon likes to call it “Doorbell Concierge”, will shortly make its way into the market. It will be able to ask the visitors questions to know their intentions and helps them with their genuine work.
More Humanly Conversations
Amazon says that it’s been working on using neural networks to make Alexa’s voice sound more human when it communicates or translates. This natural language modeling will very soon give Alexa a completely different set of voices. Amazon says it will sell Jackson-as-Alexa as an add-on service starting later this year.
Amazon is also improving to listen to emotions too when talking. This will give it a more human feel and make it able to generate better answers to our queries as it can detect if we are happy with the answer or not. It will also improve the general user experience by holding understanding conversations.
Several Automatic Tasks
With more than 90,000 skills, Alexa is transforming your life in the best way imaginable. Other than the normal flight booking and dinner reservations, Alexa automates your tasks in a way that actually makes your daily life faster.
Amazon Alexa virtual Assistant routines are a feature appreciation for most people and analysts. This gives you the authority to automate your daily life tasks without you needing to talk at all. Need a different alarm schedule for different days, tell Alexa or want Alexa to check security locks after you wish goodnight, it is all ears! It also has the ability to tie many actions to a single command. Doesn’t this look like a world where not even speaking is necessary for tasks?
Alexa Vs Google Assistant
Alexa isn’t the only virtual assistant on offer in the market, and while there may be several other virtual assistants hoping to provide some competition, the Google Assistant is probably the fiercest out of those.
The Google Assistant is similar to Alexa in terms of what they were created for and the role they fulfill in our lives. But, let’s dive deeper into the two and discover how they both perform in particular facets.
Probably the most crucial for a virtual assistant – if they can’t recognize your voice immediately, what’s really the point?
While both Alexa and Google provide a similar experience in terms of voice recognition. The latter just edges ahead with the availability of a personalized experience. You can also personalize certain calendar dates, reminders, etc on an individual basis. This means that depending on who’s talking, the Google Assistant can provide relevant information to them.
Speech-To-Text: Google Speech vs Amazon Transcribe
Who doesn’t want a smart virtual assistant?
With Alexa, you get access to a huge library that has information on anything and everything that you could want to know about. While Google Assistant also offers a similar experience, it does so at a slightly reduced response rate.
Alexa’s responses are faster, more specific, and address direct queries. With Google Assistant you might end up getting somewhat general responses at times or face any issue in getting your query even understood.
Listening to your favorite songs or podcasts or looking up a movie. All things that you need an assistant to provide the most optimal suggestions for in line with your taste.
With Alexa, you have access to Amazon’s library. So it’s better able to suggest music, podcasts, and movies. Since it has direct access to libraries as compared to Google Assistant which has to conduct searches for you.
This refers to aspects such as ordering food online or shopping online. The latter is obviously something that Alexa succeeds at since it is linked with Amazon. Therefore a problem-free shopping experience is available for its users.
Setting up appointments, contacting clients, or simply having an email typed out – Alexa’s performance in these tasks outperforms the Google Assistant.
Who do you think is the winner here? Obviously, Google Assistant has direct access to Google Maps and therefore can offer specific directions without messing up locations.
With Alexa, you have the opportunity to connect several devices since Amazon’s Echo allows you to do just that. Since they’re all compatible, not only is it easier to connect devices and use them but it also helps to turn your home into a truly ‘smart’ home.
While both Alexa and Google Assistant offer an experience like no other, it’s the former that does the job slightly better and wins this competition. Due to its integration with multiple platforms, Alexa can outperform Google and offer an even more holistic experience overall.
After this research and great inventions, we can say that Alexa has the greatest potential of becoming a humanoid robot. If it’s handling your life in the form of a tablet device, imagine how easy your life will be when it is running around with you talking like a real human. And it will be more intelligent than a human assistant because it’s still a machine incapable of feeling emotions or getting tired.
While the road to developing into a humanoid robot might belong, there is no stopping it from happening – Alexa is truly and surely an invention that holds the potential of causing a massive change in how we communicate with and function in, the world.
With Alexa, so many possibilities open up ranging from the ease in conducting everyday tasks to having your very own assistant to manage your professional life for you.
At the end of the day, it’s an experience unlike any other.