Welcoming Amazon Echo to the Telstra Smart Home family

Isaac Cain
January 19, 2018

Alternatively, a two pack of Echo Dots can be found for $79 at the moment, making it easier to try out Amazon's vision of a smart home.

Amazon has revealed it is tailoring the speakers to its Kiwi market with specific skills added to its regular functions, including learning New Zealand sports teams, giving news from local media organisations, and even speaking a bit of Te Reo Maori. In addition to being sold via Amazon.com.au, they are available from Myer, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Telstra.

While Microsoft, Apple and Google also offer voice assistants in the form of Cortana, Siri and Google Assistant, at this time it is only Amazon actively working to bring voice into boardrooms as well as homes, with Amazon's Chief Technology Officer and Vice President Werner Vogel stating "Voice represents the next major disruption in computing."

The Amazon Echo smart speaker boasts features like second-generation far-field voice recognition and omnidirectional sound.

The Dimmi skill will be available soon on voice-controlled speakers such as Amazon Echo and Echo Dot that have Alexa built in. "The combination of Alexa and Echo provides customers with hands-free access to music, weather, news, information, and more - just ask".

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From today, the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus are available for preorder on the Amazon website.

AdNews revealed earlier this year that News Corp, Fairfax, ABC and Mamamia were all in discussions with Amazon regarding the launch of Alexa and how they could push their content through the platform.

After being given access to the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and Alexa Voice Service (AVS) in December, developers from local organisations have launched their respective offerings in line with Thursday's announcement from Amazon.

"It is hard to see otherwise than that Amazon's entry into Australia will be good for consumers, despite it not being good for incumbent retailers", Sims said, addressing the RBB Economics forum in late November.

Qantas, NAB and Westpac had launched localised skills for Alexa, checking travel details and loyalty points, or account balances, respectively. Amazon Music will go live on February 1, with monthly subscriptions costing $11.99 for the individual plan. Users will be able to search for jobs, get company ratings and receive employment market updates.

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