Intel and Amazon join forces in Alexa smart home push

2 Dec 2016

Intel. Image: StockStudio/Shutterstock

Amazon and Intel see a “tremendous opportunity” in smart homes, so they’re teaming up to put Alexa-like capabilities into more companies’ hands.

According to a recent report by Berg Insights, 91m homes in Europe and North America will be smart by 2020. By that, the fourth report in this field means they will have a smart home system using an app or web portal as a user interface.

Think smartphones controlling home heating, lights, alarms etc.

91m is an immense figure and, obviously, it has not gone unnoticed, with Intel’s recently revealed “strategic vision” now complemented by Amazon.

Amazon Intel

The duo are combining to create two “technology initiatives”, enabling Amazon’s Alexa Skills to remotely control and coordinate device actions with an Intel-based smart home hub, as well as providing a design for a smart speaker, again sporting Alexa’s goods.

“The home is rapidly evolving thanks to the proliferation of connected devices and advancements in voice recognition technology,” said Amazon’s Ted Karczewski.

“Amazon and Intel see a tremendous opportunity to bring the benefits of a personal voice experience to millions of new consumers, and are collaborating to encourage developers and device manufacturers to extend natural voice interaction to more products via Amazon Alexa.”

The speaker design is being created to help hardware manufacturers accelerate their development of voice-enabled devices, with Intel’s platform and Alexa’s voice services to the fore. It will be made available in early 2017.

“Developers can now leverage the Intel-based smart home hub for onboarding devices across an expanding Intel and Amazon network to fully integrate into the home with the power of Alexa,” said Karczewski.

“This will allow end users to interact more naturally with the technology in their homes.”

In related news, the two companies are pairing Amazon Web Services (AWS) Greengrass software and Intel hardware to solve asset tracking problems. This is part of a broader move by Amazon, with other companies such as Qualcomm and Annapurna Labs also integrating with Greengrass.

“Customers want their IoT devices to be able to perform computing tasks and process data locally, functioning as a seamless extension of their AWS environment,” said Marco Argenti, VP of mobile and IoT at Amazon.

“AWS Greengrass makes this possible by putting a ‘mini AWS’ – a select set of AWS capabilities – inside connected devices. With AWS Lambda and AWS IoT messaging and security, customers can run IoT applications seamlessly across local IoT devices and the AWS Cloud using the same programming model.”

Intel. Image: StockStudio/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic