It is that time of year when we can put our mind together, review what has happened over the year, and take a look at what we would like to see in the next year. This is a little wishlist for Amazon of features that users would like to see added to Alexa.
- Use Alexa Voice commands to control FireTV. Hey Amazon, it is cool to have Alexa available on the Fire TV. Thank you for that! However, what we want is the ability to control our Fire TV and send output to it from any Alexa device. Therefore we could use the hands free mode of the Echo, Dot and Tap to use voice commands to start playing video on the FireTV. How great would it be to start Prime videos with voice, or start streaming Hulu or NetFlix? Users would love this feature.
- Alexa devices to communicate amongst themselves. This is somewhat in the same vein as above, but not just sending video content. We want to send audio between devices using voice commands. We want to have music playing on our Echo in the kitchen, and then say "Alexa, send what is playing to the bedroom Dot", which happens to be the room we are going to. We want to use commands to play music on a different Echo device then the one we are next to. Each Echo is already named, so it is easy enough to identify all the Alexa devices in a household. There are lots of people who want this feature. And Amazon, it gives people another reason to buy another Echo, or maybe even a six-pack!
- Support Alexa Notifications. These would work somewhat like notifications on a mobile phone, where they are sometimes known as push notifications (because they are pushed to the device). Where an Echo would play an audio track, or say something upon an event occuring. The only two instances like this now are Alarms and timers. The idea would be that there is a custom skill that would alert you when a stock price goes to a certain level. When it happens, boom, Alexa wakes up, and gives a brief message or chime. It could work with email or messaging in the same way. This is a natural extension that would be hugely useful. There would need to be some way to check what notifications happened while you were gone. We understand that this has important security ramifications that need to be figured out. There has to be a way to turn off notifications entirely and individually. But, we know it can be done!
- Improve information search. We love Alexa and the information we can get just by asking. However, there are times that she just does not understand. She does not give us an answer. There is another competitor who recently entered the hands-free voice assistant market that has found a way to make this information search extremely powerful. Alexa is going to have to up her game in this area.
- Conversational Style Communication Improvements. We know you are already working on this, as you have put up a bunch of money to get students thinking about how to make this work. Maybe it starts by having a grasp as to what a conversation is as related to a voice assistant. By adding more conversational abilities, it lets us communicate more effectively. It makes the entire experience much smoother.
That covers it. If we could get these five improvements, we would be elated. Alexa is alrady the leader in voice assistants, and Amazon has the lead in getting products out to market. It is pretty sure that Amazon not just knows about these, but is already working on them. They'll be here soon...I just can't wait!