Amazon's Alexa soon to allow push notifications

Phillip Butler
May 17, 2017

Not content with just announcing a new addition to its Echo line of smart speakers, Amazon continues to upgrade Alexa to be your go-to digital assistant.

The retail giant said Tuesday that it would debut a new feature for its Alexa voice-activated assistant that lets businesses and developers notify people of new information via skills.

Amazon is harnessing the power of the cloud to reduce false detections of the word "Alexa".

"With this update, the wake word engine (WWE) on the device handles the initial detection of "Alexa", and then a secondary cloud-based check verifies the utterance", wrote Alexa evangelist Ted Karczewski, in a blog post.

The technology is available today, but to take advantage of it users will have to update their device's firmware when it is made available by the manufacturer.

Notifications will be opt-in, so don't worry about your Echo devices all of a sudden buzzing at you with unwanted info.

The move would make Alexa the first among companies like Google and Microsoft whose third-party voice apps can proactively send notifications.

Some of the organizations that will incorporate the new feature include the weather forecasting service AccuWeather, The Washington Post, food delivery service Just Eat, and family locator service Life360.

If a financial services app tracks specific stock movements, for example, you might soon be able to ask Alexa for notifications related to your portfolio, like a quick overview of how an index or stock performed. This is pretty useful as this also means that the Echo will not be ruining the ambiance of your house on its own by yelling out news all the time.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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