Alexa

Free Alexa: Disentangling Voice Commerce From The Power Cable

Alexa may be on the move. A California-based chipmaker, DSP Group, is working on a small, standardized chip that device manufacturers can use to embed Alexa into their gadgets – thus freeing her from the constraints of the power outlet.

Alexa is powerful, and not just in terms of the impact she can have on consumers’ lives or the amount of commerce the voice-activated assistant can drive for Amazon. Alexa, when running on an Amazon Echo device, is literally powerful.

The Echo – and Alexa with it – is unable to move too far from a power source because the power consumption needed to perpetuate its “always on” value proposition is too great for the device to function unplugged. A lot of that comes down to maintaining an internet connect, though of course, that’s not the only contributing factor.

According to a report from Reuters, DSP says its chip is designed for use in smart watches, smart glasses, and other small devices that cannot accommodate large batteries or remain plugged in at all times. With space and power at a premium on such devices, the chip has been designed to be smaller than a dime and to leverage the smallest amount of power possible to power voice as a user interface.

DSP is not Amazon’s only iron in the chipmaking fire. The Alexa Voice Services division has been teaming up with various chipmakers including Intel Corp, Qualcomm Inc and Cirrus Logic Inc, all in the name of planting its Alexa intelligence in as many gadgets as possible.

As PYMNTS previously reported, Amazon also recently succeeded in placing its assistant on iOS devices for the first time. Alexa for iOS can perform the same key tasks as her Echo-based counterpart: controlling smart home devices, playing music, answering questions and, of course, enabling commerce.

Some experts are attributing these efforts to growing competition in the voice space pushing companies like Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Google to innovate to get ahead.

Paul Erickson, a senior analyst at the research firm IHS Markit, predicts, “This is the first year we’re going to see real advances with the assistants because of competition in the marketplace.”

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