Alexa, Amazon's digital assistant looks set to be an even bigger deal in 2017 and that's because it's jumping out of the Echo speaker and into other tech, including hearables.
Sensory is hoping to make this happen with VoiceGenie, a system that delivers low-powered speech recognition technology to wireless headphones and headsets. It's bringing hands-free voice control of headphone functions but it's also bringing Alexa to the party as well.
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That means you'll be able to call out "Alexa" and access thousands of skills including controlling your smart home or finding somewhere to eat dinner. The always-listening voice control will also unlock the ability to control music playback or handle calls.
It's hoped that headphone manufacturers will incorporate Sensory's VoiceGenie tech to jump aboard the Alexa bandwagon. One of the first companies to build Sensory's tech into its hardware is BlueAnt which is already in the business of making sports headphones. BlueAnt's founder and CEO Taisen Madden said we can expect its first Alexa-powered 'phones in 2017.
It's not the first time we've heard about Amazon's assistant tech being packed into a pair of headphones. Boston startup OnVocal is launching a pair of Alexa-powered Bluetooth in-ears that with a touch of a button can activate the digital assistant to select and scroll through music, find out weather reports and even let you order a pizza.
So that's Alexa in smartwatches, smart home devices and even walkie-talkies. It's fair to say hearables won't be the only beneficiary of the award-winning tech.