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Amazon Plans to Let Devices Record Before Wake Word

According to an Amazon spokesperson, the company files several patents that are not ultimately implemented into consumer-facing products

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The Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares is seen during a 3-day walkout to demand better wages and working conditions, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. VOA

A newly-revealed patent application from Amazon shows that the e-commerce giant is planning to let Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices to record what is said even before a wake word, like “Alexa”.

Currently, Alexa-enabled devices do not understand commands when the wake word is spoken in the middle or end of the sentence.

With this patent, the company clearly seems to be looking for ways to expand the capabilities of its voice recognition technology, BuzzFeed News reported on Friday.

If implemented, the feature could let devices respond on commands with the wake word in the middle or at the end of the command.

“While such phrasings may be natural for a user, current speech processing systems are not configured to handle commands that are not preceded by a wake word. Offered is a system to correct this problem,” as per Kurt Wesley Piersol and Gabriel Beddingfield, who developed the patent.

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A delivery person pushes a cart full of Amazon boxes in New York City, U.S., Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

According to the patent application, after a wake word is detected, Alexa may “look backwards” to determine if the command came before the wake word, and use pauses in speech to identify the beginning of the command.

However, if approved, this technology could arise several security concerns among users.

According to an Amazon spokesperson, the company files several patents that are not ultimately implemented into consumer-facing products.

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“The technology in this patent is not in use, and referring to the potential use of patents is highly speculative,” the report quoted the spokesperson as saying.

The patent revelation comes just weeks after some US Senators and a group of 19 consumers and public health advocates accused Amazon of recording and saving conversations that take place around its smart speakers, urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the case. (IANS)

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Amazon To Empower SMBs in India By Exporting Products Worth $10bn

According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, SMBs in India account for 45 per cent of industrial output, creating employment for 60 million Indians and roughly 1.3 million jobs annually

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Amazon wants to make sure that the current perception of the company among the small businesses go away, else this will further call for strict scrutiny from the regulators and protests from small traders. VOA

$1 billion commitment by Amazon to empower small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India is Jeff Bezos’ attempt to change the e-commerce giant’s perception among small businesses which are in a retaliatory mode, industry experts said on Wednesday.

Bezos announced that the e-commerce major, through its global footprint, will help SMBs export products worth $10 billion by 2025. This move is seen as a measure to calm the growing unrest and protests going on under the aegis of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).

“Amazon wants to make sure that the current perception of the company among the small businesses go away, else this will further call for strict scrutiny from the regulators and protests from small traders,” Satish Meena, Senior Forecast Analyst with Forrester, told IANS.

Over the next five years, Amazon will invest $1 billion to digitise micro and small businesses in cities, towns and villages across India, helping them reach more customers than ever before, announced Bezos.

According to Meena, this is in line with what Amazon is planning to do in India for the next few years.

“They need partnerships with SMBs for products to cater not only to the Indian customers, but also to customers outside the country,” he said. Amazon said it would establish ‘Digital Haats’ in 100 cities and villages to help businesses integrate into the digital economy.

According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, SMBs in India account for 45 per cent of industrial output, creating employment for 60 million Indians and roughly 1.3 million jobs annually. “The SMBs, however, are constrained by multiple challenges, including access to skills, talent, finance, and most importantly, digital outreach,” Ram told IANS.

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$1 billion commitment by Amazon to empower small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India is Jeff Bezos’ attempt to change the e-commerce giant’s perception among small businesses which are in a retaliatory mode, industry experts said on Wednesday. Pixabay

“This is where SMB-centric initiatives, such as Amazon’s commitment, are a welcome initiative to digitally support SMBs, enabling them to gain knowledge, reach their target audience, achieve scale, and while doing so, be able to measure their growth metrics,” Ram said.

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In the end, added Meena, SMBs in India also need handholding in product development, capital investment and access to market. (IANS)