Sunday, June 24, 2018
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The Echo Show Amazon’s New Smart Speaker/Virtual Assistant

What is a Smart Speaker?

A smart speaker refers to a smart device and wireless speaker that uses Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to extend its capability over and above standard audio playback.

Smart speakers have a number of features including peer to peer connection, intelligent personal assistants and more.  Each different brand of smart speaker will have its own specific features, and today we take a look at the latest Smart Speaker from Amazon – the Amazon Echo Show.

The Amazon Echo Show Features

The Amazon Echo Show is the latest release from Amazon’s Echo range.  Released this year, it has all the features of its predecessor the Amazon Echo.  It can play back music, and other audio type media, it can search the internet for information and news, and make lists for its users.

What makes the Echo Show different is that it features a tablet style screen, adding a visual element to the devices capability as it can display graphics, text and playing back video type media.  It can also be used as a hub to control all other home devices such as smart TVs.

Alexa – Amazon’s Virtual Assistant

As with most Amazon devices, The Echo Show uses Amazon’s signature virtual assistant, Alexa, to perform voice activated commands using the device, or answer questions.  In January of this year, Alexa stole spotlight at the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas. The app was originally intended to work only on the Echo speaker, Amazon has since integrated her with a variety of other devices, and she now ranks up there with Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant.

Connecting with Other Alexa Users

The Echo Show has the capability for users to connect with other users who have the Echo Show or Alex app via video chat.  When video calls connect initially, the screen shows up as frosted glass, which clears only when the call is accepted.  This hands-free video chat technology is particularly useful as one can video chat without dialling the number or having to hold up your device in order to see the person you are speaking to.

The touch screen also allows users to send and receive text message albeit only to and from recipients using the Alexa or Echo Show users. This means that a friend can alert you to the latest news or the hottest Canadian casino bonuses all via this smart device.

Echo Show and Security

The Echo show is compatible with many home camera device brands for example Amcrest, EZViz Arlo, IC Realtime, August, Nest, Ring, and Vivint.  This means that by issuing the command, “Alexa show me the front door” you can pull up the camera feed from your front door camera onto your Echo Show screen.

Amazon has also suggested that the Echo Show could replace other security devices like baby monitors by the same concept.

Competitors of the Echo Show

Amazon and Google are largely considered to be the forerunners in the virtual home assistant sector.  Last month, Google released its Echo Look which is the Echo Show’s direct competitor.  The Echo look features a camera, but it does not have a screen.  The Look can be made to take pictures and videos using the voice command facility, and is being marketed as a “style assistant” that can give feedback on a user’s outfit.

Although Amazon and Google are perhaps ahead in the virtual home assistant game, both Microsoft and Samsung, neither of them slouches in the technology development department, are set to release their own virtual assistant devices later this year.

Bob Buskirk
the authorBob Buskirk
About 10 years of computer experience. Been messing around with electronics since I was 5, got into computers when I was in highschool, been modding them ever since then. Very interested in how things work and their design.
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