Amazon, the eCommerce giant based in Seattle, announced last week that its Alexa Announcements feature is now available for all certified Alexa built-in products.
In a blog post, the eCommerce giant said that Alexa Announcements enables customers to make and receive one-way announcements to and from compatible Alexa built-in devices. Likening it to a one-way intercom, Amazon said Alexa Announcements is aimed at quick, broad communications that users want to share with the entire household. For examples, customers can announce on a device in the kitchen that “dinner is ready” or “time to wake up” or even “the movie is starting.” The audio message will be played back through other Alexa devices simultaneously that have the voice-activated assistant built-in. Amazon said customers can also use the Alexa app when they are away from home to make an announcement.
For months now Amazon has been adding new features and capabilities to Alexa. By the end of 2018, Alexa had 56,750 skills in the U.S., after starting the year with 25,784 skills, marking a 120 percent year-over-year growth. App growth increased 233 percent in the U.K. and grew 152 percent in Germany during last year. According to a recent analysis by Digital Trends, Alexa is found in more than 60,000 smart home devices from 7,400 companies, which is up from just 12,000 devices a year earlier. The number of products that support Alexa has grown 200 percent in the past three quarters, noted the report.
In January, Amazon’s SVP of Devices and Services Dave Limp told The Verge that more than 100 million Alexa-integrated devices have been sold so far, which trumps the number of phones that have Siri or Google Assistant pre-installed. With the Alexa devices, consumers chose to purchase Alexa as opposed to getting it preinstalled. In May Amazon rolled out Alexa Guard in the U.S., enabling Echo speakers to listen for intruders and other dangers and alert users to them.