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Amazon gives Alexa more cooking chops, invests in June Oven

05 January 2018
Amazon gives Alexa more cooking chops, invests in June Oven

You might need to dive into your Amazon Prime settings and set your country to Australia if you've previously tricked it into thinking you're in the United States so you could set up Alexa, Echo speakers or Amazon Music.

These models might come to Australia later this year, once Alexa and Amazon's Echo smart speakers are officially supported locally. This means users will be able to utilize Alexa to do things like control volume and change inputs with different voice controls. According to CNBC, the online retail giant has been in talks with several companies to turn Alexa into a digital advertising machine. Appliances that have pre-sets are needed - like microwave ovens, conventional ovens, and presumably other cooking devices like slow cookers and perhaps bread makers. You might, for example, tell Alexa to set the microwave for 3 minutes or ask Alexa to preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Expect to see the cooking features in use very soon.

First, the updated Smart Home Skill API will support microwave ovens. Next up? Controlling your kitchen appliances starting with microwave ovens. Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices.

Personal assistants have boomed in popularity since the first Amazon Alexa was released in 2014, and many consumer companies fear losing money and market share as a result of artificial intelligence technology.

It sounds like a useful area for Amazon to expand Alexa's reach, since people often have their hands full while cooking and appliances' interfaces are often pretty cramped and confusing.

In addition, GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG, and Samsung are working on using the cooking capabilities in the Smart Home Skill API to let users control their ovens and more appliances using Alexa in the future. Amazon explained further telling CNET that, "we're making it easier for device manufacturers to build for Alexa by providing a common framework".

According to a report from Emarketer released in May past year, Amazon dominates the voice-controlled speaker market. Hopefully, these companies are considering or taking necessary precautions to make sure that nothing leads to a unsafe situation or accidents.