Amazon Patents Smart Headphones And Gets Serious In The UK

Amazon Drops Price Adjustment Refunds
Amazon is active in the U.K with drone testing and the release of the Dash Wand

Amazon is leading the charge in the IoT world by launching the Dash Wand in the U.K. and obtaining a patent for smart headphones in the U.S. Will the Dash Wand be a precursor to the Dash Button and Alexa and Echo in the U.K as it was in the U.S.? Watch this space. Amazon has shifted its drone testing to the U.K. after frustration peaked when the FAA halted domestic testing efforts.


Smart Headphones

How about headphones that immerse consumers into a virtual world away from the sounds they don’t want to hear, while also letting in noise from the real world that they do want to hear, such as a waiter calling your name for a table? Amazon has been awarded a patent for noise-canceling headphones that will cancel the noise-canceling functions when a distinct sound is heard, a technology no doubt attributable to the Amazon Echo platform.

The technology recognizes keywords, but Amazon has not disclosed whether these are pre-set or if the user can customize the phrases or words. Previous technologies have required the user to turn a button on or off to activate or deactivate the noise-canceling feature, which adds human error into the equation. Noise-canceling earphones are more dangerous for pedestrians because they drown out all sounds, so there is reason to believe that a new generation of headphones could prove useful and improve safety.


Amazon Drones May Appear In The UK Before The US

In a country where contactless and digital payments are now de rigueur, drone deliveries might be the next innovation to hit the high streets or, ideally, navigate the high streets. Amazon is expanding its drone testing in partnership with the British government, where the aviation regulators are allowing Amazon greater latitude when it comes to the technology’s testing.

Frustrated by the FAA’s delays and safety concerns, Jeff Bezos relocated drone research and development to Canada, the Netherlands and the U.K. According to U.S. analysts, drone delivery in the U.S. is still a year or two away, but perhaps in a show of confidence in the U.K. economy after Brexit, the tests for drone innovations there are scheduled to begin immediately.

The testing of drones will include scenarios in rural and suburban areas that are not within sight of operators, whether multiple drones can be operated by one person and the technology that detects objects that the drone must avoid, such as cars, planes, buildings and people.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the FAA has halted the advancements of drone manufacturers, such as Amazon and Google, despite the tech giants’ lobbying for the authorization of drones on the basis that the devices can reduce transportation costs. Amazon hopes that its testing efforts in the U.K. will identify the areas that need to be addressed to advance drone use in the U.S.


Dash Ordering Device Launched In The UK

To further cement Amazon’s innovation prowess in the U.K. and to advance the company’s IoT agenda, the company has launched a new Dash grocery ordering device. The device is reminiscent — if not identical — to the Dash Wand released in the U.S. in 2014, which was a precursor to the Dash Buttons and Alexa/Echo. It will be interesting to see if Amazon follows the same rollout strategy in the U.K.

So far, the device is only available to a select few in areas of London who get it for free with two deliveries before Aug. 28. The device is not as sophisticated as Amazon’s Echo with its voice-controlled system for smart home devices, and ultimately, it might be yet another gadget that will be lost in the sofa with the TV remote or left overnight in the fridge.

For Amazon U.K., it could get consumers into the habit of using something new and enjoying voice-controlled gadgets. It will also establish distance from competitors and give Amazon a leg-up in the retail playing field. Dash Buttons in the U.S. — and presumably the wand in the U.K. — don’t say “laundry detergent;” they say “Tide.” This is game-changing for brands and retail.


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