Alexa is coming to more everyday household devices like light switches and thermostats

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Amazon has integrated the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) into Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT Core, the managed cloud service that lets gadgets interact with cloud apps and other devices, the company announced ahead of its annual AWS re:Invent cloud conference next week, per TechCrunch. The integration will enable manufacturers to create Alexa built-in devices with low-powered chips and as little as 1 MB of RAM. Amazon's integration of AVS into AWS IoT Core should lead to a rapid jump in the number of Alexa-powered consumer IoT devices. Previously, Alexa built-in devices required at least 100 MB of RAM and ARM Cortex A-class microprocessors.
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Now, the requirement has been reduced to 1 MB of RAM and a less expensive ARM Cortex-M processor, since the AWS cloud processing unit offloads tasks such as media retrieval and audio decoding to the cloud. As a result, device-makers can natively infuse Alexa into smaller and more standard household devices like light switches, thermostats, and small appliances — and the material costs associated with creating Alexa built-in devices will be reduced by up to 50%, the company told TechCrunch.
This effort will bring Amazon closer to reaching two separate goals:
  • Shaping the future of ubiquitous computing. Ubiquitous computing is the idea of embedding computational capability into everyday objects. By allowing for a new wave of smaller Alexa built-in devices with low-powered chips that only require wake word detection, Amazon is making it more likely that Alexa receives and offers contextual information to users regardless of the device they're using. This keeps Alexa at the heart of the consumer's home — from the living room, to the kitchen, and then in the bedroom, for example.
  • Deepening its IoT footprint. AWS is the leading IoT platform on the market and has been growing in popularity: It was the most popular cloud platform for more than half (52%) of IoT developers in 2018, up from 37% in 2016, per Eclipse Foundation. By adding AVS to the AWS IoT Core, Amazon is opening up Alexa to a sprawling array of consumer IoT device integrations that weren't previously possible, which will help to place Alexa on IoT devices from many more developers.

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