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- On October 4, 2017
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This was the second meeting of the Smart Home Retailer and Manufacturer Panel, hosted at the Institute of Engineering and Technology.
45 people attended the event. From the “man with a van who can”, Steve Mann of TSG network, to Amazon Alexa Voice Services’ Theunis Scheepers, all segments of the industry were represented.
Vendors, distributors, retailers, service providers and academics attended the event to discuss their interest in Smart Home and to form business relationships in a growth industry.
The half-day event’s rich discussion ranged from the latest developments in Smart Home to projections about its future. Feedback from the day was very positive. Participants went away armed with new concepts, fresh data and analysis, and have met new contacts across the industry.
The exchange was full of insights and new analysis.
A highlight was the presentation by the keynote speaker, Amazon Alexa Voice Services’ Theunis Scheepers, who offered a glimpse into the fast-developing technology behind voice assistance.
The “smart”, that enables the customer to direct their digital lifestyle by interacting in a very natural way, is all in the cloud. Chris Petersen, from IMS in the US, reminded us that Amazon Alexa visualised via a screen and able to make calls, is being rolled out in the US, a very exciting development.
Others in the room testified to Alexa’s success, not just in terms of sales but also in less tangible ways. John Shermer of Lightwave said that the company had gained thousands of users in the months since the launch of the Echo, an increase “that hadn’t dropped o ” thanks to sustained Amazon Echo sales. Meanwhile, Paul Doyle from Hereward College spoke of its positive effects when used as a teaching tool for people with autism or learning difficulties.
DixonsCarphone’s Steve Moore illustrated how their honeybee Connected Home Platform becomes a hub to connect many devices in the home, in a move towards creating a “thriving ecosystem”, and, even more importantly, acts as the homeowners support centre by enabling them to get answers to questions about devices they own. Moore perhaps best summarised the key to Smart Home expansion by saying that our “goal is to take the friction out of life”.
Scheepers brought some cutting-edge examples from the evolution of Alexa. He showed people the real genius behind the Alexa Voice Services – self-service tools and API’s that enable partners to build Alexa into hardware and create their own voice-controlled devices.