Amazon Innovations

Alexa-Friendly Glasses Debut At CES

Vantiv VR/AR Commerce

Amazon Alexa has been finding its way into all sorts of devices – and at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the annual tech conference held in Las Vegas in early January, Alexa is showing up in a pair of augmented reality glasses.

According to a report in Bloomberg, the glasses are made by Vuzix, a small startup that is gearing up to display a pair of glasses that can accept commands from Alexa, Amazon’s digital voice-activated assistant. The glasses can also display information about what's in the wearer's view, noted the report.

Paul Travers, chief executive of Vuzix, said the Alexa integration was made possible by an Amazon program that enables third-party hardware manufacturers to integrate Alexa into their devices. For example, Sonos came out with a smart speaker with built-in Alexa this past October. The goal is to get Alexa in as many devices as possible in order to boost revenue for Amazon, noted the report.

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners just reported that customers who buy Amazon’s Echo smart speakers spend an average of $1,700 each year on Amazon, higher than the $1,300 that Amazon Prime customers spend annually. What’s more, the figure is 66 percent higher than the average spending rate of all Amazon customers around the globe.

An Amazon spokeswoman said the eCommerce giant is excited about the potential of glasses integrated with Alexa. The Vuzix glasses are slated to hit the market in the second quarter and will initially sell for around $1,000, with the goal of ultimately lowering the price to under $500, which the CEO predicts will happen by 2019.

Vuzix isn’t the only company expected to roll out augmented reality products with built-in voice assistants at CES 2018. Bloomberg noted that Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant executives will be on the lookout to forge other new partnerships for their voice-activated virtual assistants.



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