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Alexa, Amazon's new virtual assistant, already speaks Spanish and that's how it works

Alexa, Amazon's new virtual assistant, already speaks Spanish and that's how it works

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Finally, after four years, Amazon has launched its voice assistant, Alexa, in Spanish. What it allows you to do is not as interesting as the path that led you to get it. But we go in steps.

Several devices of the Amazon Echo line were presented yesterday. The smallest is Echo dot, a smart speaker perfect for the bedside table but with the same power as his older brother, the Threw out, also a newcomer. The third of the devices is the Echo Plus, the most intelligent speaker of Amazon, which has inside not only the capabilities of the aforementioned, but also serves as a hub or central node of the smart home (allows controlling all connected devices of the home and comes with a Philips Bulb Hue included). Finally, the Echo Spot, a speaker with the appearance of bedside clock, which has a screen and camera.

Amazon has put several of its devices 40% discounted, such as the Echo Spot, which if its original price is € 129.99, now we can find it for € 77.99, Yes, for now, they can only be reserved. It will be from October 30 when they go on sale.

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I WANT IT!

What can we do with Alexa?

First the obvious: you can ask for information, recipes, music (connects to Spotify or the Amazon Music list, among others), allows you to schedule actions, such as saying "Good morning Alexa" and immediately tell us the weather, the state of traffic or turn on the radio.

Through a combination of machine learning and files in the cloud, Alexa is able to respond to almost everything, provided it is in Spanish.

But it also has a series of "Skills", applications that we can download from our smartphone to do other activities. A very clear example is in RTVE that, taking advantage of Alexa's arrival in Spain, has launched two applications for Echo devices. Users can access the information services of TVE and RNE whenever they want. Just say "Alexa, give me the news today." In addition to building more personalized consumption experiences, this also allows you to learn from our routines and make pertinent suggestions.

In addition, Amazon Prime users can also buy directly from the Amazon store.

How was this achieved?

In a interview with Quo, Pedro García Franco, One of the heads of development of Alexa in Spain confesses that the intention of the arrival of the voice assistant in Spanish was not simply to use a translation. That's why it took so much time. There was casting of voices to find the precise accent and then record words and, sometimes, even phoneme by phoneme. Another added difficulty was the accents. Madrid is not the same as Catalan, Galician or Andalusian. In fact, even the differences between an accent from Cádiz and one from Almería or Huelva are notable. To "teach" Spanish to Alexa, more than a thousand speakers were distributed throughout the Spanish geography and the comprehension algorithms were refined so that any accent was understandable to Alexa.

What are the possibilities?

Perhaps this is the most interesting aspect and we will have to give it time to make the algorithms more precise. An example is that Alexa responds to anyone who speaks to him in Spanish, he cannot distinguish the voices of family members. This means that a minor can create his own shopping list and carry it out (there is a maximum time to cancel the purchase anyway). In the presentation they assured us that this will be resolved shortly, which will allow, as soon as we speak Alexa, know who we are and configure to respond to our preferences: music, questions, information, etc.

Another aspect that can increase personalization is the information stored in the cloud. Although Amazon has been interested in taking care of our privacy and we always have access to all the information Alexa has about us, it is not possible to access it in a discriminated way, for example by user, something very useful in families to know what they have Made our children.

Another very interesting possibility has to do with Echo Spot, more precisely with its camera. Thanks to it, video calls can be made, but as a voice assistant, Alexa can go a step further. Amazon experts tell us that they are contemplating the use of this camera to perform sign language recognition and thus overcome the border of the voice and become an assistant for people with speech or speech difficulties.

Finally, Amazon has released a developer kit for free. The idea is that anyone can create their own skills, that is, new features for Alexa: synchronization with other teams, new features and remote controls, to name a few.

The strange thing is that, for now, Alexa in Spanish does not know how to speak English, but this will also be resolved as confirmed.

Via: Quo ES