Welcome to our weekly home automation product coverage—features that get you in-the-know on the latest connected home technology in less than two minutes.

As technology continues to advance and more and more of our lives go digital, we’ve also seen an advancement in hands-free or voice-controlled technology. Apple has Siri, Google allows you to speak your search, and many cars come with voice command.

One market where we haven’t seen voice control speak up is the smarthome market. Alarms can be set when you’re not home, lights can turn on and off on a set schedule, and your house can heat up when you pull into your driveway, but these all require some type of remote control as the source command center.

Alexa Voice Service (AVS) from Amazon is changing that. Amazon is planting a flag in the ground in the name of voice-controlled technology, and opening up an API (Application Programming Interface) for AVS, for any connected device that has a microphone and speaker. Amazon states that AVS can create frictionless interfaces for customers, allow businesses to scale quickly in the cloud, and integrate easily with existing devices. That last point is worth noting because devices don’t need to have prior voice recognition software or Natural Language Understanding for AVS to work.

Alexa is what’s behind Amazon Echo. The device that is controlled with voice commands and will answer questions and play music. By incorporating Alexa Voice Service, makers of connected devices can build on the skills that are already in Alexa and add new commands that will allow their customers to interface with their device.

Best of all, AVS is free.

Two brands in the home automation space already getting on board with AVS are Wink (who we’ve featured before) and Scout Alarm. Said Wink CTO Nathan smith, “Amazon is helping us create an even more simple and intuitive way to control your smart home—with your voice. By integrating Alexa into our platform, customers will be able to manage their home—everything from turning on lights, locking doors, controlling temperature, and opening blinds—just by asking. We see huge potential and are excited to make the smart home even more accessible.”

Amazon is all-in on Alexa Voice Service, investing up to $100 million to support developers, manufacturers, and startups of all sizes that are creating unique and innovative experiences designed around the human voice. Read more about what AVS has to offer by going >> here. 

With AVS so accessible, we could see smarthomes speaking up instead of leaving things on the tip of your tongue.

  • Theresa Szeto

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