You Can Now Order Domino’s Pizza From Amazon Echo

What Happened
Amazon Echo’s virtual assistant Alexa just gained another useful skill just in time for the Super Bowl. Popular pizza delivery chain Domino’s utilized Alexa Skills Kit, a developer tool kit for Echo, to add the capabilities of placing and tracking orders by voice commands to Alexa. Echo users simply need to enable the Domino’s skill within the Amazon Alexa app by linking their account to their Domino’s Pizza profile and they are good to go. By doing so, Domino’s is the first in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industries to integrate with Amazon Echo.

What Brands Need To Do
As Alexa’s list of skills continues to grow, Amazon Echo is becoming increasingly business-friendly, creating a unique platform for brands to connect with consumers in their living rooms via a voice-based conversational interface. For brands, this kind of interface brings new challenges in discovery because they only present limited options to users. Therefore, brands will need to be active in getting on board with those voice-activated devices via deep integrations or partnerships.

For more information on how brands can develop authentic brand voices and navigate the new discovery systems outside of standard SEO, check out the Conversational Interfaces section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: CNN Money


Header image courtesy of Amazon on YouTube

Amazon Echo Pushes Into Traditional Retail Nationwide

What Happened
More than a year after its debut, Amazon Echo is finally coming to third-party physical retail stores for the first time. Amazon’s smart speaker will be available at Staples, The Home Depot, Sears, Fred Meyer and various other big box and electronics stores. Amazon plans to make it available in more than 3,000 retail locations across the U.S. in time for holiday shopping.

Market Impact
Making the Echo widely available in traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores signals Amazon’s confidence in pushing its leading product in the smart home to the mass market. The expanded shelf presence in turn can help familiarize consumers with connected devices like Echo, propelling the smart home market forward.


Source: GeekWire

Amazon Echo Adds Local Business Listings From Yelp

What Happened
With a software update pushed out over-the-air over the weekend, Amazon’s smart speaker Echo now pulls local business listings from Yelp, making it possible for users to ask Alexa for basic information about any local business, including phone numbers, addresses, opening hours and more. After answering an inquiry, Echo also offers additional information sourced from Yelp about the resulting businesses in its smartphone app, including Yelp ratings and price range.

What Brands Need To Do
Since Amazon surprised everyone with the launch of Echo about a year ago, the Alexa-enabled smart speaker has been quickly gaining new functions, adding support for smart home devices in April and integrating event information from StubHub in August. As its list of features continues to grow, Echo is becoming increasingly business-friendly, creating a unique platform for brands to connect consumers in their living rooms in a conversational context. Therefore, it is important for local businesses and national chain-store brands to make sure their store information is listed correctly on Yelp, so as to be accessible via Echo.


Source: Marketing Land

The Home Platform: Connectivity, Commerce, & Culture

In two weeks, Apple is expected to announce a new Apple TV set-top box, but this will be more impactful than just an upgrade to their “hobby”: the new device will serve as the cornerstone in Apple’s emerging IoT strategy. There’s a mounting battle for control of our homes, and entertainment plays to Apple’s home field advantage.

An Apple TV App Store will let a thousand streaming services bloom, and a new OTT slim channel bundle will debut in the spring. A key component of the entertainment platform will be a video-focused expansion of iAds, a turnkey solution for ads within any TV app, targeted using Apple’s rich user data. Entertainment will be the Trojan horse that gets Siri, HomeKit, and HandOff into our living rooms making the new Apple TV an always-listening hub, and providing a beachhead for connected devices within our homes.

After living with an Amazon Echo, I can attest to the significant appeal of an always-on voice interface. The Echo, and Alexa, are strong entry points into the home for Amazon, especially with an open API, and near-weekly updates to its capabailities. But because Amazon is operating largely outside the smartphone ecosystem, Alexa can’t send a text, or pause Netflix when someone calls — troublingly, she’s even disconnected from Amazon’s Fire TV. Apple and Google’s existing ecosystems will help, here, in ways that Amazon will struggle to match.

What Amazon does have, though, are millions of products, and Alexa can help you buy them. That’s convenient, but it belies Amazon’s even simpler vision for shopping, the Dash platform. Comprised of both a set of buttonsand an API, Dash allows you to purchase household staples with the tap of a button — a button which will eventually be subsumed into our devices directly, allowing them to re-order supplies as needed. It’s a critical component of our connected home which Amazon is uniquely positioned to deliver. But when coffee buys itself, brand loyalty takes on a whole new meaning, and CPG companies will need to spend mightily to acquire users up front, before a competitor becomes the default.

We also just gained some clarity into Google’s plans for the connected home. Despite having several TVproducts, as well as an entire line of home devices in Nest, Google has launched the OnHub wifi router, which also supports several connected home protocols. On is a new home brand for Google, with the Hub being the first product. With Nest providing ad-free, premium devices, On is free to experiment with lower cost options that are subsidized by advertising. It might work like Kindle Special Offers: pay full price, and use your network like any other, or have Google outfit your entire connected home at a discount, and allow On Hub to serve targeted ads based on the browsing behavior of each device on your network.

From fifty thousand feet, our admirals are moving their troops into position for the coming battle: Google wants to getting you and keeping you online, so the cornerstone of their home platform is a router. Amazon is tackling the home directly with the Echo, and through commerce with the Dash platform. And Apple, with a business built on taste and culture, is entering the home through entertainment. Notably absent is Microsoft, whose strategy whiplash with the Xbox One has left them without a foothold in the connected home, and Facebook, who will likely be content to ride Apple and Google’s coattails, at least for the time being.

With starting positions in connectivity, commerce, and culture, we’re about to witness a fierce battle to define the connected home, and, in a larger sense, what “home” itself will come to mean in the future.


A version of this story originally appeared on MediaPost IoT Daily.


Amazon Echo Integrates StubHub For Event Info

What Happened
Amazon’s connected speaker is quickly expanding beyond its initial functionality, adding support for a handful of new third-party platforms, including popular event booking and ticket sale platform StubHub, as well as several smart-home platforms such as Cree. The StubHub integration, in particular, stands out for it customizes the information based on location and utilizes Alexa, Echo’s embedded virtual assistant, to offer info about events nearby within a natural, conversational context.

What Brands Should Do
As a nascent media platform, devices like Amazon Echo and, allegedly, Apple TV – both well-poised to become the central hubs of connected devices and all sorts of services – are slowly and surely gaining momentum as the future standard of digital interactions. And brands, especially those in the ecommerce and smart-home space, need to be mindful of its potential. For brands that wish to experiment with Amazon Echo, there is the Alexa Skills Kit, a free SDK that allows for creating new features for Echo’s platform and integrating branded digital assets with Alexa’s conversational U/I.


Source: Engadget
Header image courtesy of Amazon Echo Product Page

Amazon Surprises With Echo, A Smart Speaker With A Built-in Virtual Assistant

Read original story on: The Verge

Out of nowhere, Amazon announced a new product named Echo, the world’s first smart speaker that comes with an always-on, Siri-like virtual assistant. Connected to the cloud via Wi-Fi, the AI assistant, dubbed “Alexa,” can provide you with news, weather, and even Wikipedia-generated answers to random questions. When connected with your mobile device, it can also perform tasks such as setting alarm clocks and managing to-do lists, all handsfree via voice command.

Of course, the wireless speaker also serves its traditional purpose: playing music. It has built-in support for Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn, it’s also fully Bluetooth compatible, making playback from Spotify, Pandora, and other audio apps from other devices possible.