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Smart Home Speakers Now Echo In Indian Houses

If you have not engaged in a conversation with virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home on smart speakers in your living home yet, this is the time to start one.

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lot of awareness is still required among users to understand how the speakers work.

If you have not engaged in a conversation with virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home on smart speakers in your living home yet, this is the time to start one.

Voice is the new human-compute interface and the Indian masses — be it a 3-year-old toddler or a 65-year-old grandpa — are finally going to leverage voice to interact with the devices and digitally control their lives.

Smart home speakers are today helping people perform routine activities such as making voice calls, streaming music, reading eBooks, accessing news, knowing about weather and traffic updates and much more.

Among all smart home devices, smart speakers are one of the fastest adopted technologies in India and have a 97 per cent satisfaction rate among Indian consumers, said an Accenture report this month.

smart speakers
Smart Speakers are used widely in Indian Households,Pixabay

Half of online consumers globally now use digital voice assistants, led by emerging markets such as India with 72 per cent adoption.

“It goes with our behaviour, irrespective of age that we ‘call’ someone for help. Very rarely will we type for help. With the elderly, it removes all the hassles of maneuvering through the menus, apps (while ordering food online). It makes the life simple,” Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Principal Analyst of market research firm techARC, told IANS.

When it comes to the Indian market, American online retail giant Amazon’s Echo line-up of smart speakers appeals more to the masses than its rival Internet giant Google’s home speakers.

According to market research firm International Data Corp (IDC), the smart speakers category in India, led by Amazon, grew 43 per cent in the second quarter of 2018. Amazon with its Echo range of smart speakers led the category with 59 per cent market share, closely followed by Google.

Amazon’s Echo line-up of speakers has primarily focused on building its voice ecosystem around everyday services such as booking cabs on Uber, ordering food via and streaming Amazon’s own Prime Music service.

They can be also used to make Amazon purchases, turning on lighting and songs when prompted.

“With increasing adoption and satisfaction levels of smart speaker technology in India, we will see digital voice assistants influencing the whole consumer technology and service ecosystem in a way that no other device, including smartphones, has done before,” said Aditya Chaudhuri, Managing Director and lead in Accenture’s Communications, Media & Technology practice in India.

TV
Smart televisions are becoming a popular trend.

The Accenture survey showed that 96 per cent of Indian consumers expect their home device purchases, such as smart TVs or computers, to be based on ease of integration with their standalone smart speaker.

“We are clearly heading towards a time in the not-too-distant future when voice becomes a standard mode of technology interaction alongside established approaches like keyboard mouse and touchscreen,” said David Watkins, Director at Strategy Analytics.

Highlighting the effect of smart speakers in our lives, Kawoosa said that while it is enabling more smartness to the tech space, it is also raising concerns like privacy.

“The technology, however, has a lot of power to redefine our future and the way we interface with devices as well as other things in the environment,” he added.

A lot of awareness is still required among users to understand how the speakers work.

In March last year, several Echo users complained of strange, unprompted laughter as the gadgets, equipped with Alexa, were responding with a slightly unnerving laugh when owners asked it to perform the simplest of tasks.

Also Read: Satellite To Conduct Biological Experiments In Space, Plans Space Kidz India

“This anecdotally means ‘deewaron ke bi kaan hote hain’ (even the walls have ears). This is something users have to be aware of and be a bit more cautious while dealing with such devices who simply can listen and hear you,” said Kawoosa.

To make Alexa appeal more to the Indian users, Amazon has taught her Hindi and regional language phonetics to let her pronounce names of important places, events and places. Currently, Alexa supports English with an Indian accent in the country.

(IANS)

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Amid Lockdown Netflix, Fortnite, Zoom Entertain & Empower Many

Amazon Web Services driven, Netflix, Disney Plus or Hulu and Zoom keep people busy during the lockdown

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Lockdown
AWS driving Netflix, Fortnite, Zoom entertain and empower millions at home during lockdown. Pixabay

As you stream your favourite movies or TV series on Netflix, Disney Plus or Hulu, or connect with your team via video meet app Zoom, leading Cloud service provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the backdrop is ensuring seamless, scalable and secure connectivity to help people at home and organisations function while they can’t operate normally at work.

According to AWS CEO Andy Jassy, a lot of things that are allowing humanity to deal with the global health crisis run on top of AWS which is Amazon’s Cloud arm and topped $10 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time in the January-March period.

“We’re just trying to help our customers in various areas. If you look at Netflix, it runs completely on top of AWS. So does Disney Plus. Hulu runs on AWS. Prime Video runs on AWS. All those entertainment pieces have kind of made time go by,” Jassy said during a fireside chat at AWS Online Summit recently.

“Fortnite runs on top of AWS, and so does Sony PlayStation. A lot of other popular games too,” he informed. The popular Battle Royale game Fortnite has gained 350 million registered players, who in April collectively spent over 3.2 billion hours in the game.

Netflix
Netflix and other platforms keeping people sane in lockdown. Pixabay

According to Jassy, AWS has its own video-conferencing service in Chime. “But a lot of people use Zoom, and the vast majority of Zoom’s cloud infrastructure runs on AWS and will for the foreseeable future,” he said. Amazon Chime Voice Connector is a service that enables enterprises to migrate their telephony workloads to AWS.

 

If you have kids at home, you also realise they’re all doing e-learning at the moment. “If you just look at companies like Blackboard and Instructure’s Canvas, which run on top of AWS. A lot of the things that are allowing us to deal with the crisis run on top of AWS. So we’re just trying to help our customers in various areas,” Jassy emphasised. AWS today offers 15 purpose-built database engines including relational, key-value, document, in-memory, graph, time series, and ledger databases.

“We have an unmatched number of those purpose-built databases that people are getting real value from and are changing the way they build applications. So (for us), it’s just the way that people are rethinking how they build in this unprecedented era of data growth,” informed Jassy. It is interesting to see how manufacturing and industrial organisations are changing in these Covid-19 times.

“In these industrial organizations, they have all of these assets that function in their facilities and their factories, and they collect really important data. And today they’re largely sending that data, through AWS IoT, to the cloud to store it and to analyze it,” said Jassy. Amazon AWS IoT has done well in terms of completeness benefiting from a robust Cloud IoT and Application Enablement capabilities. Further, AWS has been building its edge capabilities via AWS Greengrass.

fortnite
Fortnite has gained 350 million registered players, who in April collectively spent over 3.2 billion hours in the game. Pixabay

AWS has grown into a behemoth in itself, raking in $10 billion in sales in the first quarter this year, with a super annual run rate of more than $40 billion. The cloud computing service logged $10.2 billion in sales in the March quarter, up from $7.7 billion from the year-ago quarter – a growth rate of 33 per cent.

Also Read: Thousands of Australians Get Killed Each Year Due To Heat: Study

According to Amazon, AWS now spans 76 Availability Zones within 24 geographic regions, with announced plans for nine more Availability Zones and three more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Japan, and Spain. (IANS)

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Amazon Alexa Powered Mi Band 5 to Check Blood Oxygen Saturation

The band will come with NFC support feature in China

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Mi Band 5
A picture of Mi Band 4, prequal to the upcoming Mi Band 5. Wikimedia Commons

Xiaomi is reportedly working on next-generation fitness tracker Mi Band 5 with features like SpO2 detection that checks the blood oxygen saturation along with Amazon Alexa support.

The latest fitness band will also come with NFC support though the feature would be limited to China.

The fitness tracker is likely to feature 1.2-inch OLED display which is bigger than the one on the Mi Band 4 and is expected to come with a bigger battery.

According to Tizen Help, the Mi Band 5 will have a “Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI)”.
This feature will essentially show users how much activity is required to stay healthy and the band will make such suggestions based on the user’s heart rate data.

 Mi Band 5
The fitness tracker in Mi Band 5 is likely to feature 1.2-inch OLED display. Wikimedia Commons

Also Read: WhatsApp Beta to Add New QR Code Feature for Easy Contact Sharing

The band may also come with a Women menstrual cycle feature (the one available in Apple Watch). This will allow female users to keep a track on their menstrual cycle.

The smart band will be launched in China first and will be available in other countries later. (IANS)

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COVID-19 Supplies Store Launched Across India by Amazon Business

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Amazon business
Amazon business introduced its COVID-19 Supplies Store in India. Pixabay

Amazon Business on Monday introduced its “COVID-19 Supplies Store” to provide easy access for businesses to buy COVID related supplies on the e-commerce platform in the country.

The initiative is designed to help institutional buyers like nursing homes, hospitals, healthcare NGOs, government agencies and other businesses purchase COVID-19 related items in bulk with GST invoices.

The store has been specifically curated to provide instant access to critical medical supplies and safety products, said Amazon Business, a business-friendly marketplace on Amazon.in.

The store has a wide selection of items like N95 masks, surgical masks, sanitizers, personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, gloves, shoe Covers, PPE suits, facial shields, and infrared thermometers, among others, it said.

“The ‘COVID-19 Supplies Store’ is our effort towards providing institutional buyers with a one-stop-shop for all their needs around safety and sanitization products,” Manish Tiwary, Vice President, Category Management, Amazon India, said in a statement.

supply  stores
Amazon Business launches ‘COVID-19 Supplies Store’ in India. Pixabay

“The store seeks to serve bulk buying needs of healthcare professionals and organisations as the nation continues to fight the virus. In these unprecedented times, Amazon remains committed to serve the nation by providing instant access and delivering products safely to customers across the country,” Tiwary mentioned.

Also Read: How The COVID Pandemic Pushed More Indians To Online Casinos

Institutional buyers can get competitive quotes from multiple suppliers, coupled with safe delivery, Amazon Business said, adding that these business purchases also come with the benefit of bulk pricing and GST invoices to ensure compliance and claim input tax credit. (IANS)