Smart speakers and digitised helpers have been cited as this year’s big fish in New Zealand and warring virtual assistants. Amazon's ‘Alexa’, Google Assistant, Apple's ‘Siri’, Samsung ‘Bixby’ and Microsoft ‘Cortana’ are hot on the tech scene.
Of these, Amazon’s release of The Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot speakers will be coming to New Zealand in early February. The interactive, interoperable smart speaker can accomplish a long list of mundane tasks; such as turn on the lights, play music, order pizza and more recently, supply snippets of news.
Alexa is the brains behind the family of Amazon Echo smart products and will be a key feature of the Amazon speakers.
The Business Insider predicted the total number of Americans using voice-activated assistant devices was 35.6 million in 2017 and Amazon accounted for 70.6 percent of the voice-enabled speaker market in the U.S.
On local soil, vying media organisations NZME, Fairfax, and TVNZ have pounced on the opportunity to collaborate with the Amazon Echo smart speakers. The ploy will cater to the changing expectations among audiences to access news, entertainment, and information.
So, how will the fusion of virtual assistants and media perform in New Zealand?
Amazon Alexa's launch will enable users to activate one minute of nationwide news, by simply stating “Alexa, play my flash briefing” or "Alexa, what is the news today?", and its making news organisations excited.
The user will be offered the choice of minute-long news bulletins provided by Stuff, The Herald, Newstalk ZB or 1 News.
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