Thursday, October 27, 2016

Amazon Echo in the Test: The space ship Enterprise for the living room – business week

by Thomas Kuhn

Amazon’s artificial intelligence Alexa, is English. At least a little bit. We were able to Amazon’s smart speaker is one of the first test.

imagine this: Mercedes announces its first voice-controlled electric small car, but warns interested parties of all the potential purchase of the vehicle, and brakes or steer leave, the regulation of Radio, Navi or operated Windows via voice command – say, more of a means functioning reliably. The buyer could, however, help to develop the car – during operation – to the end. It is highly unlikely that a buyer einließe.


  • Amazon Echo

    Echo there are in two formats: The, 179,99 Euro Box has a Two-way speaker system. The more compact Echo Dot will cost 59.99 euros. Both have excellent voice recognition, which works over a distance of several meters, as well as the Wi-Fi networking with a Bot to Alexa. After signal words like “Echo” or “Alexa” takes the Box, voice commands, and transmits them to the computer center, where Alexa researched the answer and send you back. Those who want to prevent, that Echo’s on the phone, turn off voice recognition. Amazon assured, microphones would be completely disconnected from the power.

Quite different in the case of Amazon’s smart speaker Echo. In the case of the Amazon has been overwhelmed by requests to buy outright, since the company has proclaimed to the end of September in London, to bring the so far only in the United States and Canada displaced device in the UK and Germany on the market. However, with the crucial restriction that Echo, at least in this country, initially only a selected group of users, and in a not-yet-final Version is actually available for purchase. With this (continuously growing) circle of de-facto paying Beta will develop testers to Echo then to final market maturity.

these days now Amazon sent the first of the coveted order offers for the 180 Euro Box from the Format of a chip-box. Official information on numbers, there is not, but Reportedly it is still very elitist – rather four-digit – circle of testers, since 26. October to actually be able to order.

But the number of customers to rapidly grow, and soon, is significantly higher. Transferring the model from the US, where Amazon 2014/15 is permeated with a similar introduction phase, on Germany, could start the unlimited sale of Echo here in the second quarter of 2017.

Amazon’s logistics network in Germany

  • logistics centres

    In Germany, Amazon has nine logistics centers in eight locations: In Graben near Augsburg, Bad Hersfeld with two logistics centers in Leipzig, Rheinberg, Werne, Pforzheim, Koblenz and Brieselang.

  • staff

    More than 9,000 permanent employees from over 100 Nations. In the Christmas season, 10,000 more seasonal workers are added according to the group.

  • logistics-total area

    860.000 square feet (120,5 football fields) with a storage capacity of more than 3 million m3.

  • lace-date of order

    On 15.12.2013 recorded 4.6 million customer orders. The were 53 per second.

While the mass of the interested parties have to wait, may actually be ordered, is one of the first “German” Echo cans now on my Desk and makes friends with me … or Vice versa. Because that is what makes Echo in fact, so fascinating. Although visually one of the numerous trading related to usual cordless speakers (and when playing music quite on a par), is the uniqueness of the smart Box in the underlying digital intelligence, Amazon’s “Alexa” baptized, and so the promise – by voice control.

In English it works now quite smoothly, no matter whether the speaker expresses his desires in a broad Texas, or in a neat British English. With the German dialects, however, the Cyber-ear does not yet quite so easily. Which is why Amazon likely the first German test buyer now, among other things, on the basis of their geographically indirect linguistic peculiarities selects. “For an artificial intelligence, it is not easy, the German pronunciations and to learn more of the grammatical peculiarities”, told me one of the responsible developers before the start of sales.


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