In a blog post, Amazon developer Mike Maas said that developers can now build skills to enable U.S. customers to control microwaves via Alexa, its voice-activated digital assistant. Support for other types of cooking devices, such as convection ovens, will be launched soon, the executive said. Maas noted that customers have already connected tens of millions of smart home devices to Alexa, including cameras, door locks, lights, thermostats and entertainment systems.
“Customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces (VUIs) as a hands-free way to manage their lives, and hands-free control is especially valuable when cooking,” wrote Maas in the blog post. “With the built-in cooking device controls in the Smart Home Skill API, you will make it easier for your customers to control your cloud-connected microwave. Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices. For example, a customer can say ‘Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken’ or ‘Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high.'”
At launch, there are four new capability interfaces in the Smart Home Skill API: Alexa.Cooking, Alexa.Cooking.TimeController, Alexa.TimeHoldController and Alexa.Cooking.PresetController.
Maas noted that Whirlpool is gearing up to launch connected microwaves that will have Alexa built in, thanks to the Smart Home Skill API. The skill will allow customers to configure, start and operate their microwaves using voice commands. What’s more, GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG and Samsung are working on integrating the API’s cooking capabilities in future products.
Separately, Maas announced that Amazon’s venture capital arm, Alexa Fund, has made an investment in June Life, the maker of the June Oven, which is a countertop smart oven.