On Thursday, Amazon held its annual hardware event, and the company unleashed a slew of new Alexa related products onto the world. While we were given an upgrade to the companies classic line of Dot, Show, and Plus devices, we were also introduced to a few entirely new product categories. The Echo Sub allows users to pair a high end subwoofer to their existing echo, aiming to compete with likes of Sonos and Apples HomePod.
Amazon also introduced a few auxiliary devices, like the Echo Auto, bringing Alexa into the in-car entertainment space as well as an Echo Input, which will allow users to access the voice assistant through their existing speaker system. We’re also given an Echo Smart Plug, used to turn on and off household appliances. Finally, the event included an Alexa Wall Clock, to visualize alarms, and an Alexa Microwave, because why not?
If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now. Amazon is dead set on bringing Alexa into your life in as many ways as possible. While different from Apple and Google, who are both increasingly pushing Siri and Assistant respectively, Amazon is similar in the fact that it’s building an ecosystem around its voice assistant, starting with the hub.
For Apple and Google, the hub is the smartphone. It has been for quite some time, and consumers utilize additional products like the HomePod and Home, to tap into that hub. However, most of the interaction with those assistants occur on the mobile device itself, either through Apple’s built in Siri integration, or the Google Assistant App. Amazon is building an ecosystem of IOT devices, and sees voice as the primary interface.
Thursdays event greatly expanded this ecosystem, moving beyond the home into the vehicle, as well as expanding the presence throughout the home. Consumers who opt to utilize the hub for all its benefits, will begin to see Alexa learn and adapt towards them. One of the few software upgrades on Thursday was called Hunches, and it will allow the voice assistant to offer occasional suggestions if it thinks you may have forgotten something as part of your daily routine. For example, turning off the outdoor lights before you hit the hay.
Marketers will need to understand that as we move toward a world like this, it will be less about marketing towards consumers, and more about marketing towards assistants. As Alexa, Assistant and Siri begin making more and more of our decisions on their behalf, our mundane decision making, like making sure the fridge is stocked with groceries and Friday night plans are booked, will be handled by our artificially intelligent systems. It’s incredibly important to begin laying the building blocks of that future today, before it quickly passes you by when it shows up.