Amazon Echo and Music Unlimited coming to Australia and New Zealand

18 January, 2018, 14:17 | Author: Darren Santiago
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Alexa is the brain that powers Amazon's smart speaker Echo - she works via voice recognition, with the ability to understand natural language spoken and she listens for her name before responding to requests.

The device hits stores in New Zealand and Australia in early February with an Air New Zealand feature to be made available through the Amazon Alexa skill store that will allow its customers to conveniently check their flight status. In addition to being sold via Amazon.com.au, they are available from Myer, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Telstra. According to Amazon, more than 10,000 skills are now available in Australia. In Australia, Alexa will utilize information from companies like Sky News Australia, Fox Sports, Qantas, and Coastalwatch.

Major bank Westpac has been working with ecommerce giant Amazon to install banking services on Alexa for Australian consumers. Users will also be able to check their mobile balance and top up data services.

"We know our customers want a seamless banking experience that fits with their needs and complements their lifestyles", said Westpac chief executive, consumer bank, George Frazis. What we've learnt is using services like Alexa can require a step change in behaviours so it's been critical that we keep our skill simple initially and make it easy for customers to use. But with Alexa ready and able with by now, it could prove a formidable opponent.

Internet banking is entering the age of voice computing.

The bank previous year unveiled a 'Talk to NAB' app for Google Assistant. A job seeker can start by saying "Alexa, enable SEEK Jobs", and then say; "Alexa, ask SEEK Jobs for Project Manager roles in Melbourne", to which Alexa will read out the most recent jobs and ask whether they would like the job emailed to them. The skill was developed in partnership with tech services provider, DiUS.

EnergyAustralia was one of the energy utilities providers to jump on the Alexa bandwagon locally, and announced a skill for customers to check and manage their electricity and gas accounts. A total of two million Australians have used hipages to-date.

SEEK MD of ANZ Michael Ilczynski says, "Voice is without a doubt the next big technology trend".

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