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What if all the brands in your home speak up?




Chris Monroe / CNET

During Amazon’s Alexa Live event on Wednesday, Verizon unveiled a new smart display called the Verizon Smart Display with “Hey, Verizon” features. This feature is enhanced by Amazon Custom Assistant, a comprehensive new solution that allows device manufacturers and service providers to create intelligent assistants tailored to the brand’s personality and customer needs.

The program was announced in January and was attended by several brands, including global automakers Stellantis, Qualcomm, Garmin, Elektrobit and Continental. Verizon’s smart display came out a few weeks ago thanks to FCC filing. Today’s announcement isn’t groundbreaking, but it does show the continued success of Amazon’s new business strategy of selling Alexa to others for customization.

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Indeed, this is much easier for businesses than creating their own assistants. Amazon provides bones, and businesses write their assistants their own traits and personalities. But where does it end?

When the number of assistants increases

With Amazon’s new proprietary voice assistant, smart displays and speakers can start to feel spam. Amazon basically sells Alexa to businesses, allowing them to brand themselves and choose from different levels of brand-specific features. Then deploy the voice assistant on your device or integrate it with your existing Alexa-enabled product.

On the consumer side, the question is: Are you ready to talk to all the brands in your home?

Sure, there are ways this can be cute and fun. I’m not against conversations with Charmin Bear or Tony Tiger. In fact, I have some real questions that I can ask those cute brand ambassadors. Do you manage multiple voice assistants for a particular task? Not much more interesting.

Like many, there are multiple voice assistants in the house. I chose the lifestyle based on the product I wanted to use and the amount of information I wanted to convey to a specific company. But it’s tedious to ask Alexa to do one thing and Google to do another. I don’t know how it would be easier to add a cook to the kitchen.

At the very least, you should also choose these new assistants. Certain brand interactions should be hidden purely for entertainment purposes in the skills you choose to enable on your display or speakers. If I want to order something, Alexa should be able to do it without taking me over to the brand’s voice.

The additional complexity of having to talk to a particular assistant within my assistant is overwhelming. Is there a future in which each brand needs to be addressed by name to accomplish its task? In the future, where “Hey, Spotify” just starts playlists, the way it interacts with smart devices will change. That’s the extra brain I need to spend. When you want to do something, you need to remember who to ask. It reminds me of some annoying intermediaries of smart home skills and doesn’t forget to ask Alexa to do something (Spotify if you haven’t set it as your default music player). Including).

Read more: Amazon gives an overview of Matter’s plans for custom Alexa commands at the Alexa Live Developers Conference

Different is not always better

Who says that even if you can manage the cast of a new character, it really improves the experience? Is there anything these assistants can offer me that Alexa can’t? It’s hard to imagine the real reason to talk to the brand instead of Alexa. The brand’s voice is built on the Alexa platform, which ensures that Alexa can perform the tasks on its own.

However, as soon as the brand pays Amazon exclusive features and effectively blocks Alexa from brand-specific actions such as subscription renewals and product orders, one speaker embodies multiple personalities. You will notice that you are.

It’s a marketing department dream. Commercials are filled with clever and entertaining clips aimed at enhancing the appeal of talking to your favorite cereal mascots and dog food brands. Chatting with Ronald McDonald sounds like a good way to spend the afternoon, but it can push us to the idiocracy level of brand worship and integration at home.

The Verizon Smart Display includes a camera, speakers and a 4G LTE modem.

FCC / Verizon

For Verizon Smart Display, the device will be available in beta this fall and will be widely distributed in 2022. It’s hard to understand exactly what a smart display does. There are some details about the specs and services, but not so many at the time of this post.

It’s a short article, but I’m skeptical. You see, I could be wrong about all of this. Simple skills with the voice of a brand that provides specific information can be helpful. We don’t know much about how these new brand voices work in real homes. So far, I’m not ready to start a conversation.




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