If you own a smart microwave or oven, you might soon be able to control it with Alexa. According to the online retail giant, the company will be introducing "cooking capabilities" to Alexa's Smart Home Skill API. Whirlpool has developed an Alexa skill for its line of connected microwaves, which will allow users to "configure, start and operate" their devices entirely hands-free. While 2017 has been a banner year for smart speakers in terms of hardware sales, especially for Google and Amazon, smart speakers in 2018 will move beyond hardware, with strategic attempts to monetize the growing installed base in the U.S. and beyond. The company says the HomePod should arrive in early 2018; however, at a price much higher than any of Amazon's Echo devices, it may struggle to gain market share. Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices.
"Customers have now connected tens of millions of smart home devices to Alexa, including cameras, door locks, lights, entertainment systems, and thermostats".
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GE Appliances, LG, Samsung, and Kenmore also plan to add Alexa support for their ovens, as well as other appliances, at some point in the future. Initially rolling out in microwaves from Whirlpool and others, the new cooking capabilities will let users define time and temperature parameters and will eventually use the Alexa voice interface to walk through cooking a meal.
We've seen Alexa integration make its way to a number of smart devices already. "While 2017 has been a banner year for smart speakers in terms of hardware sales, especially for Google and Amazon, smart speakers in 2018 will move beyond hardware, with strategic attempts to monetize the growing installed base in the United States and beyond". Hopefully, these companies are considering or taking necessary precautions to make sure that nothing leads to a risky situation or accidents.