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You can now control your microwave through Amazon's Alexa

05 January 2018

"Customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces (VUIs) as a hands-free way to manage their lives, and hands-free control is especially valuable when cooking", Amazon's Mike Maas wrote in a blog post.

The upgrades announced by Amazon, Thursday, will initially apply to microwaves before being extended to conventional ovens and other smart cooking appliances.

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While over 50% of Echos end up in the kitchen, a lack of cooking-specific commands and categories within the popular voice assistant's smart home API meant few people actually prepare food with Alexa today.

"Customers have now connected tens of millions of smart home devices to Alexa, including cameras, door locks, lights, entertainment systems, and thermostats". Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, users can simply use their voices. Whilst Amazon has a variety of vendor partners, it's not certain how rapidly support will roll out.

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Recent reports reveal that Whirlpool will be among the first appliance brands to feature Alexa integration, enabling consumers to "soon" "configure, start, and operate" its suite of smart microwaves. You might, for example, tell Alexa to set the microwave for 3 minutes or ask Alexa to preheat the oven to 300 degrees. GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG, and Samsung will be next, Amazon says. With the built-in cooking device controls in the Smart Home Skill API, you will make it easier for your customers to control your cloud-connected microwave.

The catch, as you might imagine, is that your ovens and microwaves need to support this feature, and nearly all "smart" versions now don't. "While 2017 has been a banner year for smart speakers in terms of hardware sales, especially for Google and Amazon, smart speakers in 2018 will move beyond hardware, with strategic attempts to monetize the growing installed base in the USA and beyond".

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You can now control your microwave through Amazon's Alexa