Amazon and Intel join forces to bring Alexa to third-party developers

20 Oct 2017

Amazon Echo. Image: George W. Bailey/Shutterstock

Intel intends to grow its share in the booming smart home market.

Intel and Amazon have announced a new partnership today (20 October), creating a development kit that allows third-party developers to embed Alexa voice control capabilities in smart home devices.

Called the Intel Speech Enabling Developer Kit, it acts as a far-field voice recognition solution and claims to be the first device to combine the “Alexa” wake word and far-field processing on one single chip.

Speeding up smart home product development

Manager of the smart home group at Intel, Miles Kingston, said that the collaboration will make it easier to accelerate the design of smart home products featuring Amazon Alexa Voice Service. He also explained the inherent difficulties in the development of accurate voice recognition technologies: “People speak and hear in 360 degrees, not just in a direct line of sight. Devices need array microphones and complex noise mitigation technology.

“A quality voice interaction means devices identify the speaker’s location, mitigate and suppress ambient noise, and understand spoken commands on the mics, even while playing music (talking and listening at the same time), as well as waking up when it hears the wake word (eg ‘Alexa’).”

Kingston said the new Intel Speech Enabling Developer Kit can deliver high-quality far-field voice recognition technology in acoustically challenging environments, with algorithms for echo cancellation and noise reduction.

Amazon partners to bring Alexa everywhere

In January 2017, Amazon announced that it would be partnering with multiple companies and manufacturers to bring Alexa’s capabilities to a myriad of devices, including a series of smart TVs from Chinese firm Tongfang Global, washing machine manufacturer Whirlpool and Lenovo, among others.

This latest development with Intel shows both companies are not letting up when it comes to capitalising on the burgeoning smart home market and are aiming to lead the charge in terms of smart consumer products many people will soon live with day to day.

Amazon Echo image via George W. Bailey/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects