In this post, I’m going to talk about a new wireless speaker that has been introduced by Amazon. This speaker is fairly smart and it connects to Amazon service. This speaker is called Echo. What is unique about the speaker is that it has built in microphones. As soon as you call its name which is Alexa this wireless speaker will start listening to user commands. Those user commands are then forwarded to the central server and are being processed. The result is that this wireless speaker will perform a certain action. The following actions are currently supported: the speakers able to provide simple information such as weather forecasts on use. This sort of information is typically retrieved from online radio stations. Also, it can also provide other simple answers such as the time of day, the date and other simple trivia.
It also serves as an alarm clock. So you can set it up to ring at a specific time and it will wake you. It can do so either by using a ring tone or by playing music. In other words it can be turned into a smart alarm clock. But obviously the main purpose of the wireless speaker is playing songs. You can either have it stream music from a collection that is stored locally or you can have it stream music from the Internet. Also, it is able to access songs which are stored on the Amazon cloud drive. In a way this can be considered the marketing instrument for Amazon’s MP3 store. By using voice activated commands, you can create playlists and also play complete albums. You can also set it to play a specific genre of music. However, it is not yet very smart. Many users have reported bugs. Fortunately, Amazon is able to update the functionality since it’s running the software on its servers. So the speaker itself is merely a user interface. Also, to further the thought of it being an Amazon marketing instrument, it is easily able to browse the Amazon product catalog and also output low-price alerts.
The speaker also is able to interface with certain home automation appliances. However, this is fairly specific to one brand of appliances. So most likely you will not be able to use it for your specific brand of home automation systems. Nonetheless, I think this is a step in the right direction. However, there are also some privacy concerns because the speakers constantly listening. Nobody knows how much this speaker is being abused for monitoring purposes. If you are a privacy advocate then I would not recommend purchasing the speaker.