Alexa, the voice assistant of Amazon Echo, can already control cameras, door locks, lights, entertainment systems, and thermostats in the home.
But that could soon change. Voice is the new app in controlling devices, particularly in our smart homes. The functions don't work with existing microwaves and ovens, so anyone wishing to avail of the new facility will have to fork out on a new machine.
The tech giant has announced it is adding cooking capabilities to its Smart Home Skill API - the programming tools that make it possible to connect Alexa with internet-connected devices.
According to Amazon, the AI assistant will offer customers a break from, er, "traditional and often confusing microwave experience by enabling them to bark commands at the appliance such as "Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken" or "Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high".
Customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces (VUIs) as a hands-free way to manage their lives, and hands-free control is especially valuable when cooking. Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices.
Given you have to be in immediate proximity to a cooker or microwave in order to insert the food, Alexa won't save that much labour.
On top of that, support for other cooking devices, such as conventional ovens, should arrive in the near future as well, Mass said.
The new Alexa cooking capability understands food categories (for example, Alexa will take a food term from the Echo user - such as "sockeye salmon" - to categorize food in the "Fish" category) and cooking modes.
Whirlpool has signed on to launch an Alexa-ready microwave that will be the first to the market.
GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG and Samsung are also working on bringing AI controls to their appliances. The move will lead to June adding Alexa commands once oven support is available.
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