Critical update! Since I published this article in the Huffington Post on December 12, the Amazon Echo and Alexa took the annual CES tradeshow by storm, with Wired Magazine stating that, Amazon’s Alexa Just Conquered CES. No word yet on how many Alexa skills (currently estimated at 7,000 in total) were created specifically for CES, but we will update this post as soon as the data is available.
Last year, I purchased an Amazon Echo for the sole purpose of accessing Alexa. Friends and friends of friends have talked lovingly of Amazon’s artificial intelligence tool over the past year, each time making me believe I had to have one too! And now that I own it, I’ve spent the past few weeks watching my six year-old partake in her very first robot conversations…and it made me wonder what the possibilities might be for promoting brands, considering that’s my particular lifelong obsession. Thankfully, the answer was provided in an email from a colleague: brands (and people) are already building voice apps/skills for Alexa.
What does that really mean? It means that the pump is primed and the time to take action is now. Regardless of whether you are promoting a known brand and looking to solidify its position, or if you’re with a startup that needs publicity and awareness, the “Alexa app store” is behaving just like the “iOS app store” in its early days.
- All the brands who got into the Alexa app store early are now releasing their own brand apps – Domino’s, Campbell’s, Capital One, Uber, Lyft and more.
- The device itself is growing almost on par with early iPhone sales. According to data from Statista, 3.7 million iPhones sold in 2007 when the device first came out and 13.7 million sold in 2008. In a similar fashion, Wolf estimates that smart speaker sales will jump from 1.2 million to 3.2 in 2016 and then to 7.4 million in 2017.
- The developer community is embracing Alexa. It’s a new and riveting platform for devs and makers.
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Image via Flickr.