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.
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.
“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)
Discarding allegations of deep discounting and predatory pricing, a top Amazon India executive on Monday asserted that sellers set their prices independently and the platform follows government rules very carefully in the country.
“Amazon is a 100 per cent pure marketplace in India. Sellers set the prices on their own. We do not interfere there at all,” Gopal Pillai, Vice President, Seller Services, Amazon India, told IANS in an interview.
“We have provided the tools and system needed for sellers to manage their business in an effective way,” he added.
The assertions come at a time when the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has approached the government for its intervention regarding the “deep” discounts offered by e-commerce majors like Amazon and Flipkart during festival sales.
CAIT alleged that the two e-commerce majors flouted the norms for the foreign direct investment (FDI) by carrying out festival sales.
Following the complaints, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) sent questionnaire to Amazon and Flipkart over their adherence to the FDI norms. The responses sent by the e-commerce players are reportedly under examination by DPIIT.
“We follow government rules very carefully. We have been compliant… so we do not see anything to discuss there because we take compliance very seriously,” Pillai said.
“We started with 100 sellers six years ago. Today, we have more than 5.5 lakh sellers in India. Businesses continue to grow across the board,” he noted.
In 2019, Amazon India launched close to 1.6 lakh sellers.
“This year alone, we were able to produce more than 18,000 millionaires and 3,500 crorepatis in the country,” Pillai informed.
Amazon India on Monday also announced that it would organise the second edition of its “Small Business Day” on December 14.
The event will offer customers the opportunity to discover and purchase unique and hard-to-find products from start-ups, women entrepreneurs, artisans and weavers under its various programmes such as Amazon Launchpad, Amazon Saheli, Amazon Karigar as well as enjoy other deals and offers extended by lakhs of SMBs and MSMEs .
“Amazon Karigar as a programme has more than 8 lakh artisans and weavers. Amazon Saheli has 30 partners and more than 2 lakh women entrepreneurs participating in it. Amazon Launchpad has more than 900 brands with more than 200 brands being crorepati sellers,” Pillai said.
Amazon India said it will organise e-commerce awareness workshops in five different clusters in the country in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). These workshops will guide how small and medium sellers can get online, what are steps to follow, etc.
“We are the largest marketplace in the country and we have been having more sellers and more selections consistently. We make sure that our experience on mobile is good, our website experience is seamless and we also focus on vernacular experience so that we can have sellers coming from every part of the country,” he elaborated.
Amazon has more than 50 fulfillment centres in the country and provides several other facilities to the sellers.
“We have the largest storage space — 260 million cubic space available for any seller to use. They continue to use our facilities so that they do not have to do the operational logistics to ship the product. Our backhouse can do it.
“Similarly, we also have service provider network where we have 700 service providers across 100 cities and they continue to provide services in imaging cataloging and everything else. We have a lending marketplace through which sellers can get loan from Rs 50,000-Rs 5 crore with a very competitive interest rate,” Pillai said. (IANS)