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Amazon Alexa Product Launch Event Commentary from Amazon's Daniel Rausch, USA Today, The Spoon, CNET, and Voicebot - Voicebot Podcast Ep 116
"This episode won sixteen the Voice podcast today's guests include Daniel Rouse Amazon Jefferson Graham from USA Today Chris Albrecht from the spoon and Ben Fox Ruben of CNN. We get real time reactions from the Amazon product launch in Seattle. Hello OVOID BOT nation. This is your host. Brett Casella and I'm just back from a trip to Seattle for the now annual Amazon product launch event there were more than eighty announcements made during the day up from seventy last year Amazon and its divisions introduced fourteen new products and we saw several from third parties ranging from third reality to Hamilton Beach in my interviews views. We mostly cover the key product demonstrations largely because those are what received the most prominent in the onstage demonstrations after the four interviews. I have a segment in my analysis will conclude this week's episode be sure to share your thoughts and ideas here on twitter and linked in the first of my forecast is Daniel Rouse. He's he's Amazon's vice president of smart home. He's the most senior person from Amazon. We've had on the podcast thus far and giving his portfolio speaks with authority on Amazon's products in on their strategy. I know you're going to appreciate his insights in the first segment next up is Jefferson Graham of USA Today. Jeff is an expert in consumer tech reviews just about everything in offers unique insights and how the announcements from Amazon fit into the larger tech product landscape we Jefferson on last year for the Amazon product demand event and it was really great to give thoughts again after another year of Amazon expansion and the smart home and voice activated space third. Today's lineup is Chris Crispell Brek. He is writer at the spoon. He's the leading publication on food tech. I invited Kris to join the interview today because he's able to offer some unique insights into a few of the announcements from the event such as Amazon's new smart partnership with Food Network in even how echo buds will help you navigate a whole foods market. That was a really interesting demonstration. I have to say closing out. The interviews is Ben Fox. Ruben have seen it. He is seen as Amazon reporter with a long tenure intact attack and business reporting gives an uncommonly deep and broad understanding of Amazon and it was great to get him to weigh in on the recent events around Lexa Echo products addicts and privacy. I will then follow up the interviews with some of my own analysis. The newly announced products and services okay. Let's get started. First off is Daniel route vice president of SMART Home Amazon. ooh Okay breckon seller here. I am at the Amazon Alexa Product launch event. I don't even know if that's the official name. Is there an official name Daniel Jonathan. Is there an official name okay so this is the annual gathering now at the spheres that Amazon rolls out seventy eighty different announcements including new products and updates to products. I and I'm here with Daniel row. She was vice president overseeing all of the smart home initiatives for Amazon Daniel. Thank you for joining me super happy to be here okay so we've had an opportunity to talk a couple of times in the past and I think a lot of things that we talked about. We see a lot more of today so tell me what happened today. It's a continuation of your existing strategy and what happened today. In terms of the announcements that you think of his new I think there were kind of two broad themes as I say at one you saw saw US carrying Alexa along everywhere customers are asking for so you saw announcements about integrations with GM bringing Alexa deeply into another automaker in a great integration you saw Alexa on the dough with a whole set of wearable products that we announced today in our pods in frames in lieu so that's about selects ubiquity you saw US bring Echo studio out which is a great new echo for your home dot with the clock. You know all the traditional ways that you the peculiar announcements I guess if you'll call them that from Amazon here bringing Alexa every corner of the home and beyond that customers are asking for that sort of the first bucket as I associate I think the other bucket and the one that frankly spend most of my day job on is the smart home making it the three things we talked about today we're making it simpler making it smarter overall and making it safer for customers and there we had a whole series of announcements you know the first bucket on simpler. We WanNa make it so that any human can use a smart art home product. You don't have to be a hacker smart programmer. We announced a programme called certified for humans today so that we can make smart more approachable and we had a whole succession of announcements about making Alexa smarter through things like hunches and safer through things like Alexa Guard okay so let's talk about that certified for humans because because that has to do with Alexa connect kit but it's a lot more than that that's right so our notion with the sort of peculiar name is that the only only prerequisite for the smart home should be that your human being so we convene what we called non expert panel basically no. It directors allowed folks that would self admittedly say they're just unfortunate with technology and we basically had them test these products themselves a hundred percent of our panel channel was able to set up the Amazon smart plug with frustration free setup in two minutes the first time so we knew that these products would hit the bar. It's a it's a program over for a dozen criteria that we use to make sure that these products are truly simple and easy to use okay so setup is a big part of that but you explain to me earlier that it goes beyond setup so setups really important but what is it beyond setup. It's important for this certified for humans well. I'll tell you you know you want to make sure that those products stay connected. They're reliable and they don't have Gotcha. So I think a lot of smart home products today you end up thinking they're smart you get them set up through a bunch of arcane processes and a bunch of steps. APPs with your smartphone and then there's some Gotcha you have to pause using your door lock to wait for a software update when you're dumb door lock worked better in that moment when you can just use your hand and so I think those gotcha frustrating for customer so the certified for humans criteria include a ton of reliability requirements requirements like like software updates need to happen in the background when customers aren't using the product so we've got a lot about built into the program knowing that customers care about reliability and no Gotcha okay okay so last year you made a lot of headlines by introducing a microwave and some people thought it was funny. Some people thought it was I guess serious and maybe that you were going to go l. In start trying to kill off the most important categories that sell three Amazon dot com tell me a little bit about the Alexa connects kit and the chip and what you're doing along those lines and what we see with the Amazon oven in the microwave and what the real intention of those is the the the intention with the microwave last year and the Amazon smart of this is of course to build a great consumer product. That's our best selling microwave what we launched last year. It's a four point one star a product. We sophisticated that product by making a foreign one of in this year in the Amazon Smart Evan but of course the real story is having the pervasiveness of Alexa control in the home home for customers that want that and so the Alexa connected is what enables any manufacturer and developer to suddenly become overnight a developer of smart products. They don't have to worry about building cloud services. They simply integrate this chipset in series with their existing microcontrollers so that say fan or a light or anything in your home that uses power can become smart overnight through the integration of this chip. It's truly amazing for developers we when we launched the UK last year we had over a thousand developers expressed interest within weeks and now we're working with hundreds of developers to bring products to market so this year we already have that we've seen launch and there are launching in coming weeks a connected smart. Christmas tree where you can put it into candy cane mode. We've got a slow cooker. We've got an air freshener from procter in gamble. We've got of course our own smart oven and you'll see sort of this whole Conga line of products coming out over the next year from hundreds of developers working with the A. C. K. okay. I think a lot of people don't realize that the Amazon us. I don't remember the name of it but the microwave the Amazon oven don't have have microphones. That's right yeah you and in fact we're we're we're helping customers issue by shipping every unit of the smart with dot so that customers are able to take advantage the Alexa integration right out of the box customers put Alexa all over their kitchen and to every corner of their home and we didn't want to necessarily add more microphones to the kitchen we most customers. Honestly they're interested in. Alexa kind of already have one there. That's the dominant placement in the home when I also think about this idea that the engineering being behind the fairfield speech recognition is pretty is pretty substantial job and I think about as a way to allow the appliance pints makers to get into the market much more easily. That's right we sort of abstract away the complexity of making a full Alexa endpoint right. You don't have to deeply embed bed Alexa in your product. You can take advantage of the Alexa endpoints customers already have and build your smart product that connects to Alexa seamlessly. That's generated a whole Alexa Economy Konami. You heard earlier announcements today. We've now measured that in billions of dollars being thrown off for developers that doesn't count a single Amazon device or service purpose. We just know that flowing through this economy of smart devices and skills and software sort of everything surrounding. Alexei you cannot measure and billions of dollars when you think of smart hard home and the products that you've been rolling out so microwave. It's a good it's a good demonstration product. How does that then help help you with other product areas where people are saying well. I don't know I could wait. Are they then thinking well if I wait too long maybe Amazon come into my market. Maybe I should get on it now. Well I think we're we'll go invent anywhere that we think we can do something differentiated for customers but really the point of the oven or the microwave and the AC K. is to unlock doc the potential for third party developers. I think you see this vibrant ecosystem of eighty five thousand products that Alexa can connect to just in December assembly of last year that was around thirty thousand and the December before that it was four thousand so you know I think that's a testament to both the invention that we see from developers. The potential for developers that consumers are showing and also just all of the room that there is to invent for those developments so you told me that maybe you were mildly surprised at how well L. The Smart Plug did last year. What do you see with this new crop of products that you think might be a sleeper well. I believe that these wearable products products are going to be true hits. I think you know the difference between some of these wearables and your phone is that they don't abstract you away from the world around you. I pull my phone out in my pocket. I literally connect to my phone and I disconnect with the world you put on something like the frames or you wear a loop on your finger for a day or even just wear the ear pods with with past pastor mode on the ECO pods. You're you stay connected to the world around you but you have the power of that voice assistant right. They're available to you anytime you want saw so I think probably one of the big stories are wearables. I'd say the other one in terms of the products that we build is echo studio the sound from from this one hundred and ninety nine dollars speaker. You heard it yourself bread today when we filled the spheres that were sitting in now with a single echo studio product. It's you just amazing sound so I think of our own products. Those are definitely I believe going to be the hits ten arouse from Amazon. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective with the voice podcast audience thanks a lot reconcile here at the Amazon Alexa Product Launch Event and Jefferson Graham here from USA Today's with me. He's I've been on the podcast before an astute observer of all things Consumer Tech Jefferson Graham. Thanks for joining me. Thank you great senior Guy Okay. This is our now how annual rendezvous where we get to talk about what Amazon is trying to do in the industry. There were a lot of announcements now as told by Daniel Rouse from Kazadi. There were over eighty announcement this year. There were seventy something last year so they took it up a notch. Did it seem like it was more than last year. Let's let's start with that. Well first of all. They didn't announce all eighty in our ninety. Minute presentation anounced a bunch of them. I bet you'd in our presentation. If there was twenty L. We'd be ally we so we missed a bunch of them but the ones they announced reduces. I mean it was one after the next. It was breath breathtaking really all happened happened so fast okay so you were trying to write stories for your day job while we're while we're listening to all that what were the things that stood out to you said. I need defiled at first okay so I like the clock because it's it's mindless what a little clock radio with Alexa next day or just makes all the sense in the world and the DOT is the best selling Amazon product era Amazon Alexa product and I wake up every hour on the hour wanting our time it is and I can't tell you how tomato well we're not conceited hotel rooms by the great idea so I love that if it really did it well they opened with the clock and they closed with the glasses Alexa glasses which is a beautiful idea for anybody who's ever tried video glasses and said well. It's in my way. I can't say anything is bothersome so so I love the way I love the idea of having these classes in talking to Alexa the promised you can hear her I don't know if you try if you could hear anything so the ear buds solves all also issues it for one hundred twenty nine dollars you by the ear buds put him in the areas. Alexa where thymus was weather play the song for me. what's the rate and how do. I get to so-and-so place so you you get your directions. They send you the directions on the APP but they also speak to you at the same time so that is actually a way more useful product the thing about the classes. It's the novelty the ear buds is a product that is i. I think it'd be the biggest seller for them. Over the holiday season okay now those does come in to one hundred twenty nine dollars so less than air pods. which is what the standard ended? Everybody goes against. It's like half the half. The market is air pods today of all these wireless ear buds. You've tried it you. You've tried air pods. How how did you think that in your really brief introductions to them. They compared Erika's. Do not stick in my year okay so I can't use them for whatever reason the way my ears are built. They will not stay in my ear. These wants today state in my ear and I shift my head really fast. Try to throw them out. They stayed there. That enough is for me also remember. That apple doesn't own the entire world apple. I android has supposedly eighty five percent market share worldwide which means the the airports don't work with any of those devices these Amazon months will so have you tried pixel buds or the galaxy buds or any of the other competitors pixel buds would be a big. No I did try them. I hated them. They wouldn't stick in the air. I've been using something from company a one more those state of the year in I like them a lot but the charging charging. It's just is a killer. The most people are used to it by you know you. WanNa grab for them and you forgot to charge them and but I think most people will be charging their Alexei. They are buds. They'll find a way more useful because Alexa tends to be a useful product so one of the things that struck me about those because I'm a user they do stay in my ear pretty much like if I can't do vigorous exercise they will come out I like them. I think they're very good product. I was really impressed by the base and the new echo bites. I thought that the low end sound quality was just much better. Guy Couldn't really tell we were crowded room and and they started good. They certainly sound a lot better than the echo frames dance for sure I had it up all the way and I could barely hear it and I could only imagine and what it'd be like walking down the street on a busy street. Now I arose. Maybe it's okay. Busy Street would be another story. I think that's probably right. I I did eventually here the the volume I turned to him all the way up I can hear the audio is listening to the news I was getting the demonstration was allowed room because deserve probably forty. People in that room is pretty small a I. I don't wear glasses so it's not something that I would normally have on my face anyway but I did like the idea that they didn't have the visual interface because anytime I've tried one of those demonstrated those this is just just a bad experience in in this really says okay. We're GONNA wear these. You're going to have voice accessible and then if you can hear them you can get half for. Maybe maybe three quarters of the daily news the worst experience I had was thrown glasses so you're flying your drone and you put these on and you're seeing what the drone seized. He's while you're flying but it's illegal to not have line of sight of the drone so is like totally messes you up and you. You have to take those things off. The make sure you haven't flown into a tree who has epsom. Okay all right so the glasses you do not think are going to be a winner. Nobody definitely got my attention but it's the ear buds the ear buds and the Echo studio stole the show the Echo Co studio is a high end wonderfully sounding speaker that sound so good. I couldn't believe how good it sounded. I've always been a fan of the sonos one as subway better sounding speaker than any echo speakers. This one is way better than the Sonos Swan. It's fifty dollars more and if I was Sonos I'd be a little concerned. Is it fifty dollars more as a one ninety nine. I think the Sonos one is one ninety nine or one fifty they. They ran a discount now okay so the sonos is the exact same price as the echo studio if I was so I'd be really really concerned. I agree agree. It sounds great. Actually my my tweet when it came out was like Oh Amazon built a home pot way more effective. You think it's better than the homepage. I didn't think the home was very good. I didn't think the sound is very good. It was originally to ninety nine and most of those Siri functions. Were things that we don't care era about Alexa actually has a better track record in the home. I get it and we have Echo Plus Echo Saab which is actually a really good setup in the in the gym in my house but I agree that the base on that is actually better than the homepage hone actually quite a good machine but okay what what do you think are the losers from today the well. Let's say no watch no toaster oven. I know somebody who had predicted. There might be its own driving now. Instead there's been a two hundred and fifty dollar oven which looks really interesting and if I was June I'd be concerned. You know they just take out after to these companies that they've been doing business with and they just beat them and then slash the price. I didn't hear anything about fire TV. They claim they introduced a bunch of things earlier but nothing of any note last year. There was a lot of announcements. There was a lot of discussion of fire TV at Isa a couple of weeks ago. We ran some news on that. I didn't think it was that amazing. I think the story around fire TV is interesting is that it's just a proliferation of climbing market. Share third parties are integrated. Yo Ask but yes they did not talk about TV and they really didn't spend a lot of time trying to shepherd us to look at in the smart home air into the other things. I think if I will say you did ask me. I said maybe a toaster oven that would be sort of obvious and I also said coffeemaker but I don't think you actually put that your story. I I saw on the counter. Amilton beach coffee make no I did put it in the story of my friends and I did see in the slide. I didn't see it on the desk by MM slide so your track record was pretty good because you said what I really WanNa. See Your Buds. I WanNa see toaster-oven got an oven instead of a toaster oven and a coffee maker so you're three for three. I'll take it I'll take it Jefferson Graham. Thank you very much for joining us. Voice podcasts all right. Thanks okay okay. This is Brechin seller. I'm at the Amazon Alexa Product launch event here in Seattle and I came across Chris Albrecht from the spoon and he is an expert in food technology. I think that's a fair way to say it. Isn't it yeah it's pretty very yes. I cover food technology the intersection of innovation and Food Okay and what does the spoon the spoon dot attack is basically just sorta chronicles. How technology is changing the meal journey from farm to fork absolutely okay so there's a lot going on in that space right now. You can be covering a lot of things. Why was it important for you to be here this week well anytime Amazon moves. You know you just can't tell which way they're gonNA go right and it's in the food area right so they own foods Amazon. Go cashier's check out. They're really pushing that technology. They've invested in deliver ru over for food delivery and even today you saw they released their smart oven which followed their microwave from last year. A voice controlled kitchen appliance right so what's interesting to me. He is not only how does something the size of Amazon region power able to push a device right one so you look at the device itself. It's a smart oven and has Alexa but it also four in one device features air fryer a microwave and a convection oven so I'm like Oh airframes interesting because it's a very hip thing so they've probably got data on air fryers or a big buyer. We should include that we need to include that in our device but as they enable it for scandal cook so you can scan what you're going to cook or tell it what you're going to cook then. It's getting data about how you're eating and how everybody who buys one is eating and how does that feed in to the Alexa machine or its ability to sell do things those are. That's really interesting to me. Also today what caught my eye was the ear buds. The Echo buds being able to tell you where tomatoes where in a whole foods so that was interesting the the location capability. I I assume it only works in whole foods and won't work another grocery store. I'M GONNA assume yeah they're plugged into because it'll tell you if the if it's in stock right and then I was talking to the guy and right now it's only like your favorite whole foods or like your local whole foods so you'd pick one and then it would go and interface with that inventory. Lori and then go okay. They have it and then you walk in the store. It just knows that you go to that store. If you went to a different store right now it won't be able to tell you the same thing but that kind of guidance this is really interesting because then what can I do go like you buy tomatoes and meet and they'll goes. Hey just wanted to let you know if you're looking for. If you're making a spaghetti the noodles doodles are on sale down here and you can go this way over on aisle five right like what kinds of opportunities does that create when it's in your ear and you're walking around and helping you out in that regard as you're putting meals. Would I'm thinking about too. Is this idea that you go to the store and maybe a little bit like Dave Lamb where I feel you like every time I go to the store. They've rearranged. It and I'm not exactly sure where this obscure item is going to be at the same time that could integrate with my shopping list so if I have a shopping list it could actually tell me what sequence to go pick up all of the items on my list. Yeah that's absolutely right it. Would it could tell you you know and with the Echo Oh buds it could do it the audio with Alexa App on your phone. It could point you to where you need to go or you know in whole foods you could imagine there is a a smart display at some point that says hey go down this way for this or you'll find it on. I'll six or whatever so that's why I'm here today because they've got their fingers in so many different pies as as it were in food tech that you really have to pay attention to whatever Amazon is doing in whatever market they get into makes sense so there was another demonstration today where there was a a real time call with bobby flay talking about how Amazon Echo show users can ed take advantage of some of these. I don't know if you think about them in terms of tutorials but live cooking instruction or you you can do it from a recording standpoint and then there was also an announcement around Discovery Communications Food Network that they are going to have Amazon is your exclusive supplier fire of some of these new recipe concepts that they have what is it. What are your thoughts on that. How much have you looked into that so. I think it's actually a pretty big deal right so if you think about it's kind of weird that the food network is so popular. I watched food network a ton but I've always done it in my living room right because he knows I'm never gonNa make the stuff that they make and part of it is just entertainment aiman like it's fun. Watching people do a really good job. This creates a whole new category for food network. These are instructional videos that are in the kitchen at people can follow along with and they're able to leverage the celebrity roster. They have so bobby flay will cook. You teach you how to cook ribs in your kitchen in a live class or on demand. That's really interesting and then when you go okay I'm going to take bobby plays rib class but I don't have ribs like there's a food network will provide shop aboard recipe and you can get all your Amazon Amazon. All your groceries delivered via Amazon. Oh and hey you know it's it's all tied in right. It's not just floating out on its own. There's there's actually bigger opportunities here because everybody eats and so you know it's for a sizable audience. Being able to learn how to cook better is something that's going to super interesting to them and the food network has the brand to kind of make that happen absolutely it's. It's almost like a systems approach Amazon's taking in terms of all the different things that they can do for or you down to this idea that they can make sure that you have the food that you need you can cook it properly. You can have a good experience that you're walked through that that day. By or a step-by-step there was another thing that I thought was really interesting in that demonstration that Dave Limited today and that was he interrupted the recorded video and said how many chicken breasts do I need and then bobby flay kept talking. Just keep doing the thing he could have positive he wanted. It's showed up in a graphic. The upper left hand corner how many chicken breasts and needs so that he could find that out information instantly without actually having to interrupt the flow. Oh of the instruction yeah well. I think what's also important is just not only that guided cooking but think of it as also just the two way communication right with food network recipe instruction on Alexa Amazon and Food Network. Well then no like this dishes popular. This cuisine is popular. What can we do to enhance that right so you're you're providing the data as well that will help inform their future sort of content creation. Are you assuming that then food network programming will be influenced launched by the data. They're gathering from this my guess right outside my head just thinking about it for half a day is that they'll be like a whole other area that rises up like they're not going to give up their TV money right right but instead they can create these low cost shows and create a new generation of stars or use their existing ones right like if you think about just in terms like Youtube influencers or whoever this is sort of short form content. That's cheap to make because all you're doing is instructions. You're not going out on the road shooting any kitchen and that I think create an entirely new line of business for them especially when you wrap APP in things like Shabba recipes and buying food equipments from food network through Amazon or whatever right it's it's GonNa. It's GONNA rise up on its own thing. I think in probably BBC on off at some point in its own right. How important do you think it is that we're now looking at technology. They can identify what the food is an automatically determine how it should be cooked. It's a saving grace for me because I can't cook so I use it all the time. I have a June oven and it's amazing yeah now. Do you think that the the June oven is at risk now because Amazon just came out with something third the cost. I think that's really interesting. The June is yet so the June is seven hundred dollars. does a bit more right so it has seven options and it doesn't dehydrate eater. It'll roasted bake. It will do those kinds of things and it has computer vision so it will automatically identifies so I can put a chicken and he goes. Hey this looks like chicken and you go yeah. Please do and it doesn't it comes up perfect so there's a little bit of difference there but what I'm wondering what I'm grappling with. His is come holiday time. What do people think they need if they've never experienced either or right so I think the dunes awesome because I can put food in and it'll automatically walk me through it but people who haven't experienced. I may not think they need it. Especially since the June isn't a microwave so it's another thing that takes up space whereas this can be the microwave and a convection oven and and keeps food warm and does automated cook programs so I think it's definitely yeah. I think they're they're having interesting conversation conversation. Although June was funded in part by the Alexa Fund so who knows man well that's would be the first time that Amazon category of the company that funded just last question for you today aside from food tech what stood out to you today what either impressed you thought was the most interesting so oh that's a good question. It's a small thing but putting the time on the I think it's actually a big deal like it is actually a really smart thing and that's not an earth changing. That's not earth shattering in anyway shape or form but it's just as smart little iteration that makes that device it just that much more useful and I think that that's Great Chris Aubrac. Thanks you for sharing your insights with the voice podcast audience. Thank you so much leisure being here. Hello Rela here. We're closing up the day at the Amazon Alexis fears at the headquarters here and we just had the big launch event and I'm here with Ben Fox Ruben from C net Ben. Why don't you tell the voice audience what you do for a living. I write about Amazon like all the time so that seems to be pretty appropriate to our topic that we're going to cover right. Now I think so okay okay great advancement on before and this was he's just a great opportunity to talk about the big launch event so I just wrote an article about sixteen products. I think there were eighty plus announcements that they said I'm mushroom hurt all of them but there are a lot of announcements today so for you what stood out published story talking about a lot of the on the go products so they have a new ring they have new smart glasses and they have new ear buds wireless ear buds and every single one of those are are this play of getting Alexa with you at all times we've seen iterations of that in the past whether it's the Amazon tap or or maybe Alexa and your hotel room but this is really one of the more pervasive efforts to really try to get Alexa with you at all points of the the day in your ear on your face and that was that was definitely a pretty obvious trend that I that I noticed from the event today. Okay so of the wearables I think thank you had a chance to check out the the elect or the echo buds the echo loop the echo frames so pros kinds of each so I thought the buds were pretty powerful for just being these cute little ear earbud that you stick in your ear. I thought the noise cancellation was pretty good with it and I also thought that like the base and the sound quality was pretty solid. okay so just on that. I really thought the base was good too. Yeah I thought when I talked to Miriam Daniel who's one of the hardware executives. She said that had you know the biggest emphasis that they wanted to have with that particular product was music. They really want to emphasize the fact that they understand. Alexa and the Echo are all about there speakers. They're they're centrally smart speaker so people listen to music allied if they're gonNA have Alexa on the go is an earbud. We WanNa really emphasize that point and make sure that it is a can competitive products in the market as a release of that so they worked with bows on the noise cancellation personally. Those are nine device for me specifically because is I don't like the the rubberized component. That basically makes me feel like I'm under water that being said I know a lot of ear buds these these days have that so. I I expect that to be a fairly popular product. The the eyeglasses will will see we've seen smart glasses before these don't have a camera. They don't have a display. It's really just Alexa in glasses. ARE PEOPLE GONNA WANNA use it. I mean you have to be a real power user or WANNA. Have Alexa wrapped around your face face. All Day has prescription glasses so it made sense that they had that more as an experimental product in this new thing called day one edition and then the last one was the ring. I actually kind kind of felt like look. I thought the price was a little steep but at the same time I could theoretically see myself using maybe a second or third generation of one of those when they slim it down a little bit more make it more like regular ring but it was kind of cool the idea that you just Kinda competitior mouth ask Alexa for something they called it snack or dateable information that you could just kind of us on the go and then you cut it to your ear to get the response. I it's again people use that but I think that it's less pervasive breath than than eyeglasses so I thought that was an interesting concept. Yeah that's interesting. You think that that that has a play. I thought it was Kinda Weird. It was weird. I I like like the idea just because it was clever they said Oh. We have smart speakers in the home. I couldn't we put a smart speaker on your ring or on your finger into a ring but yet is a little. It'll be weird how you would use it. You know that's what we see Amazon doing. They try things every year. There were things that we heard last year at the same event that we don't talk about it anymore and yet there's a few that that people said. Oh I don't know if that's right and we are talking about because a lot of people bought microwaves and and smart bugs yeah and that's that's Amazon's play all the time is oppal tends to be really narrowly focused and they push out only a handful of blockbuster products and Amazon Throw Spaghetti at the wall and kind of us us at the market to see what works the wall clock in the microwave last year apparently in the microwave did good enough but now they have a gen two of the microwave one of the important elements to at into this conversation as if you're going to have on the go products and also if you're just GonNa have Alexa in more places in your home really needs to emphasize and pay attention a privacy elements so privacy was a big focus basically how dave limp the hardware chief started is conversation. Today started the presentation but at the same time. I think that they still do need to rebuild trust in the market. There were a lot of concern I hear from friends of mine. there's a lot of concern that there wasn't really enough. Transparency there wasn't enough education that went around human reviewers and so I think they're starting to move in the right direction with that and they obviously I think from a reporting perspective did the right thing by by being right up front starting with that conversation and I would hope and expect them to continue doing that especially if they're asking people to trust them. I'm to have Alexa in more places. I think it's a fair statement. I mean they did. I think it was the first seven seven and a half minutes. We're really devoted to privacy the only really announced to do things that are new and they replayed what they did in the past but I thought that was that was a reasonable way to handle the fact that a we've done most of this already. We've got a couple of things coming up. There wasn't really anything new today related to privacy. I think it was more how postured themselves than this is. This is something important and we take it seriously and we hear you. There is a lot of we hear you at that event. Both you know from the negative aspect of concerns earns about privacy elements and also we understand how people are using these products. This is not a new market anymore. This has been around for what four five years now since two thousand fourteen so just obvious stuff that makes sense like for instance their new echo dot with a clock in led right clocking on it just just so you don't have to keep asking Alexa. What time is it Alexa. What time is it and also if you ask what the temperature is it will tell you. What's the weather outside? I'll show you the temperature that is like eighty eighty percent of what I asked my echo so some of those some of those basic things that really in retrospect seem so obvious. Why didn't you do that earlier earlier. I think we saw some of that also at this event. It seems that they're they're. They're doing what they're supposed to do. As far as a marketing focus grouping understanding how consumers boomers are using these products are now using these products. Let's test it out that kind of thing okay any product. She thought that they introduced today that it'll just be dogs. there was the the glow. I think they continually push into kids stuff and fun stuff and sometimes that stuff works and sometimes it doesn't like if you remember remember the ECO button that was supposed to be like some gamification with Alexis skills. I don't know that that really went anywhere so the glow. I don't know maybe maybe smart smart lamp. Look I think the thing is is that Amazon's not hurting at all and they it's it's completely within their benefit to a certain extent to like I said test has the market and if glow for whatever reason becomes a smashing success than hey Amazon's really proud that they got to it before anybody else did. What do you think about the flex wchs the flex that makes a lot of sense to me. I would have liked it to be a little bit slimmer but at the same time the flex which you just plug in directly to the wall makes a lot of sense science in a bathroom or another confined space where you would take a dot and kind of I don't know make make a little shelf for it or something something like that so that was another one of those things where it's kind of like You're really starting to understand your market. You're starting to understand how people are utilizing this product addict and home incremental innovation today or breakthrough innovation I wouldn't call it a breakthrough but what I always find really satisfying about covering these events is that there's there's always so much going on there so much to report on so there was also the high end speaker which I think was called the what was it the studio and so so was was it was it a breakthrough look as it relates to on the go stuff that at least has the potential to be a really significant new chapter four Alexa. Is it gonNA happen. Maybe I don't know maybe people are. GonNa totally bulk on something like that but at the same time at least Amazon has set the table for themselves elves to have maybe something new. Maybe something else that this is going to be the next iteration for Alexa pen factory of seen it. Thanks for joining us and sharing your thoughts with voice podcast audience. Thank you very much voice listeners. Brechin cell and now it's my turn to weigh in on the meaning and impact of Amazon announcements from the product launch event. I'm gonNA focus on three things. I The move into wearables. I'll be brief on this one but want to summarize. There is some key points second. I WANNA touch on Amazon's automotive. Initiatives and third will be smart home and how that segment fits today Amazon's Alexa Strategy uh-huh so number one wearables Amazon is not afraid to experiment the Echo frames in the loop or simply more examples of that. They're investing to get these products six to market to people figure out interesting ways to use them. Smart glasses are a segment that exists but it's small and most people are working on something with a heads up display in addition to the audio and voice frames doesn't do that. It's audio only nor does it have an original name. Bows frames seemingly have the same benefits hits but without Alexa. This doesn't seem like a winner in the near term but they are giving it a shot. The loop is fascinating so the loop is a ring. I'm convinces a mass market use case for this but hey spy gadgets are always fun novelties from an Ergonomic perspective. It's relatively comfortable to wear for for a few minutes but may seem heavy and bulky for full day. If these do take off it will be fun to see people talking to their hands and then quickly cupping their hands to ears because that's the only way you can hear the tiny speaker. This doesn't win for being inconspicuous nor hands free for on the go access frames frames in Earbud seem far more versatile so I'm skeptical about the loop for sure Echo. Buds are an entirely different discussion wireless ear buds are are already established their fast-growing device segment consumers like wireless ear buds are just starting to experiment with using them with voice assistance which simply expands the capabilities echo buds provide true always available. Alexa access plus high quality sound noise cancellation for a reasonable price. I tried them on. I felt they were a premium product. At a value price point twenty to forty percent less than air pods just one twenty nine ninety nine. I suspect these will be the first realistic competitor to air pods and they're more likely to drive on the go hands. Free Voice Assistant US one one area that I cannot speak to a set up air pods nail Ds. I assume echo buds will not be quite as elegant but as long as it isn't cumbersome echo buds will be thought of more in terms of how they perform is opposed to the setup plus. They are actually not this. One size fits all solution that air airports forced on everybody. Many people cannot get air pods into into their ears or it get them to stay in their ears. This really will be an advantage for echo buds. It's because they do have a really snug convenient fit and can adjust different ear sizes different different types and they have noise cancellation which airports do not the most important aspect of this product from Amazon Echo buds provide an entire an entree into the mobile voice assistant access in it isn't stuck behind the embedded mobile system. No Alexa through Echo Butt's will not have the deep APP integration you have today from Syria or Google assistant but those features are frankly limited to a few main today anyway. The keefer Amazon is it. I was an android both provide hardware protocol bypass of the ear buds to ABS- so the Alexa APP no longer needs to be in the foreground on the device have access to the assistant. You can get there directly hands-free through the ear buds. Amazon doesn't need its own smartphone to compete in the mobile assistant space the peripherals like your buds and smart watches. They can be an end run around the mobile assistant gatekeepers also in the mobility category. Amazon and GM announced a new partnership around the Alexa Auto Sdk. It was easy to gloss over this announcement but it's really important for Amazon because the first automaker to be fully embracing Alexa in the car inside the infotainment system awesome and enabling drivers to use Alexa is the default assistant for everything in the car. Yes that means. No legacy. Nuanced system is required. You select one or the other when you set up the car. It's either the old embedded assistant generally coming from nuance in this case or it's Alexa for everything in the car. The Toyota Alexa implementation is simply a projection technology similar to apple carplay coming from the mobile phone. It's not embedded Audi. Saudi is using embedded for their e tron but it still uses a nuance basis system for all the in-car features many which overlap with Alexa the GM announcement commitment is really a big deal for Alexa on the go and dramatically increase use of the assistant so pay attention to what's going on their third up and finally we have smart home is smart speakers like echo studio which sounds amazing by the way if if they are the protein and and on the Alexa Menu and Echo Buds are the deserve then smart home is definitely the vegetables good nutrition. Even though it's often less exciting the smart home category grew forty-five percent for Amazon last year and a lot of that growth coming from the smart speaker owners are dipping into smart. Home is an extension of Alexi use the Flex Globes smart lay the ring products air wifi updates. Even the new Alexa oven are simply ways Amazon to extend its smart home portfolio it wants every need covered so they don't miss any breakout products and they don't want to have a gap in terms of what consumers want and so if you look at every year they are adding more smartphone capabilities. It's about filling in that portfolio and providing new value to people who are already using Alexa in the home and that's really the big takeaway takeaway more than anyone in the market. Amazon shooting for a broad voice activated portfolio Google has many elements with its mobile offerings wearables herbals ecosystem ness smart home products however Amazon is trying to fill all of those nooks and is now surpassed Google coverage save one item the smartphone the progress of automotive entry into wearables were key gaps for Amazon. They made a big step forward and filling those gaps this week. It looks like a good baton. Amazon's momentum may just get another boost this holiday season when about half the Alexa compatible devices for the year will be sold. It was a big week for Amazon on pay attention to those wearables pay attention to smart home. Pay attention to the car okay voice by nation. That's a wrap. I hope this episode was informative and helped you better understand the breadth and depth happen in Seattle this past week. Let me know what you thought about our guest commentary on twitter at Brecon Sela or at voiced by a or check us out on linked in and tag us in a post also checkout voice insider we had even more in depth coverage of the Amazon event this past week voice insider includes a few things. You probably don't know and we didn't cover here. You can become a voice insider by going to voice a a afford slash insider. That's voiced by day. I Ford Slash insider as you all know looking forward to having you join us next week for another amazing guests until then bye bye HM.