Amazon has finally announced the long-awaited Echo Show - the first of Amazon's popular Echo products to feature a screen. The Show is due to be released to US customers on the 28th of June and we couldn't be more excited.
We reckon the Echo Show will be the home automation product of 2017, as it will combine the power of Echo's advanced speech recognition capabilities with the ability to see, as well as hear, responses to your commands.
At Choice Technology we love home automation, but we hate the idea of having to use your mobile to control all aspects of your home. Why bother pulling out your mobile, unlocking it and fumbling around for the right app and on-screen buttons to turn on the lights? All this faffing about defeats the purpose of home automation!
With Amazon Echo and Echo Dot we can already add speech recognition and voice commands to our home automation set-up. With the Echo Show we will be able to do so much more.
Check out the Echo Show launch video - it's cheesy, but it provides an excellent overview of what the Show can do:
Because all Echo products are programmable and support powerful integrations with products such as IFFT, the possibilities are endless. If you can imagine it then we can probably implement it.
Here are just a few examples of what's possible with this amazing new device ('Alexa' is the 'wake up' word for the Echo):
'Alexa, show me who's at the door' - live camera image appears on screen
'Alexa, open the garage door and start the intercom' - the garage door opens and a live video chat begins between you and whoever's entering the garage
'Alexa, show me the status of the bedroom lights' - great for checking whether the kids have turned off their lights without having to leave the comfort of the couch. Follow up with 'Alexa, turn off the kid's lights' if required.
'Alexa, show me YouTube videos on making sangria' - vital help in the kitchen when you need it!
All Amazon Echo products feature advanced speech recognition, but not all interactions have to be instigated by you. We can also configure your home automation system to trigger the Echo Show automatically in response to a wide range of events. For example, we can configure it to automatically:
Welcome you home, tell you how great you are and play a video upon your arrival. Perfect for those living alone who could use a bit of company and a pep me up.
Show you a camera feed when motion is detected in a given area, such as the pool area, for example.
Alert you if you're tagged in a Facebook photo and show the photo on-screen. Some may call it vain. We won't judge you.
Just like the Echo, the Echo Show has a very respectable pair of stereo speakers for its size, so it's also excellent for playing audio in any room of the house. Get the party started with a command like 'Alexa, play my house party playlist'.
Amazon also announced today Alexa Calling, which provides free voice and video calling between Echo devices, including Android or Apple phones running the Alexa App. When combined with the Echo Show, this provides the tantalising prospect of being able to video call family or friends just by saying so.
'Alexa, call mum' and away you go!
We suspect that other popular communications platforms (WhatsApp, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.) will come to the Echo Show over time. Time will tell how Alexa Calling will hold up against these much larger platforms, but until then it's free and oh-so-easy to use.
The Echo Show is due for launch in the US on the 28th of June. We already have a dozen or so on pre-order for customers (plus a couple for ourselves, of course) and we expect to take delivery in mid July (subject to stock availability).
Please note that, as with other Amazon Echo products, the Echo Show is parallel imported, which means that some localisation features don't work natively in New Zealand. If want to know the time, for example, you'll need to specify the location (e.g. 'Alexa, what's the time in Auckland, new Zealand?') This is a minor consideration considering the incredible functionality that the Echo products bring to your home automation solution.
Amazon is launching an Australian store in 2018, so we anticipate the Echo products supporting Australian and New Zealand locales in the not too distant future.
Get In Now!
Contact Choice Technology today for pricing and availability and to find out how the Echo Show can revolutionise your home automation system.