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You are here: Home / Digital Life / Amazon Echo: Like Siri for Your Home
Amazon Echo: Siri-Like Digital Home Assistant
Amazon Echo: Siri-Like Digital Home Assistant
By Jennifer LeClaire / CRM Daily Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
E-commerce giant Amazon just announced a completely different take on the digital personal assistant, taking it beyond the smartphone and into your living room. Dubbed Amazon Echo, the always-ready, connected cylinder-shaped device hears your voice and answers your questions from across the room.

Amazon Echo looks somewhat like a circular speaker. The company said it’s designed around your voice and it always stays on. After it hears you say the wake word, “Alexa,” you can ask it anything. For example, you can ask it to play music, tell you the latest news, give you a weather report, or search for information on the Internet. It’s sort of like Siri or Cortana, but untethered from the smartphone.

Some of the specific examples Amazon offers include questions like: Will it rain tomorrow?; Set my alarm for 8 a.m.; Play music by Bruno Mars; How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?; Add gelato to my shopping list; When is Thanksgiving?; Play my “dinner party” playlist; Wikipedia: Abraham Lincoln; What’s the weather in Los Angeles this weekend?; and Add “make hotel reservations” to my to-do list.

Beam-Forming Technology

“Tucked under Echo's light ring is an array of seven microphones," Amazon said. "These sensors use beam-forming technology to hear you from any direction. With enhanced noise cancellation, Echo can hear you ask a question even while it's playing music.” Echo is also a speaker that can light up a room with sound.

According to Amazon, Echo’s brain is in the cloud. It runs on Amazon Web services so it keeps learning and adding new features. What’s more, Echo learns your speech patterns, vocabulary and personnel preferences as you use it.

“Echo has been fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with dynamic bass response. Its dual downward-firing speakers produce 360-degree, omni-directional audio to fill the room with immersive sound,” the company said on its Web site. “Echo provides hands-free voice control for Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. Plus, Echo is Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream other popular music services like Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora from your phone or tablet.”

A Natural Evolution

You can even use Echo when you aren’t at home. Amazon is offering a free companion app for Fire OS and Android, as well as desktop and iOS browsers. The cost is $199, or $99 for Prime members.

We asked Roger Entner, a principal analyst at Recon Analytics, for his take on Echo. He told us it supports his long-held notion about the bifurcation of mobile technology.

“Echo is a precursor to that. The touch screens are very visual but this is one of the first devices where everything is running via voice. It’s like the communicator in Star Trek where they only thing you need to do is talk to the device. There’s no screen. It’s not necessary,” Entner said. “Driving everything with voice is the most natural thing for us to do. We talk and we point to things and this is finally something that does the talking.”

Tell Us What You Think


Posted: 2014-11-19 @ 10:50am PT
You can only change the name to "Amazon" if you are not happy with "Alexa." Alexa is a homage to the great library at Alexandria. (I have all the documentation from Amazon because I was selected to buy one and it will arrive today.)

Posted: 2014-11-17 @ 1:39pm PT
Will it work in Canada?

T Szar:
Posted: 2014-11-16 @ 8:31am PT
I think this is another step forward in technology; how can this be topped? Amazon is a terrific site and let's not forget about its fast delivery and awesome customer service. I love it!!!

Art Pieroni:
Posted: 2014-11-12 @ 6:56pm PT
Is there a monthly service charge?

Posted: 2014-11-12 @ 2:19pm PT
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that you can change the Wake Word. Learn more about the Amazon Echo (and Alexa) at

Posted: 2014-11-08 @ 11:18pm PT
The name Alexa is the name that every "Amazon Echo" device is getting. It's the standard name that will give setup when you setup the "Amazon Echo". So if you wanted to name this Raspberry or Heather or even Princess, You could do that. Did that clear your question?

Posted: 2014-11-08 @ 8:56pm PT
@bmesc, It looks like you can assign it a name.

I hope so. I want to call mine 'computer'. I like the way that worked out on the Enterprise. And if it works good, they say. Keep it.

Posted: 2014-11-08 @ 8:34pm PT
@bmesc, It looks like you can assign it a name.

j moss:
Posted: 2014-11-08 @ 8:11pm PT
Sounds great, I've applied for an invite to purchase one.

Posted: 2014-11-07 @ 1:44pm PT
Ok, I'll ask it first: If it's called "Echo," why am I asking "Alexa?"

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