The 6 November 2014, Amazon took the tech world by surprise by unveiling, to everyone's surprise, the first generation of its connected speaker Amazon Echo and her voice assistant Alexa. While Siri, who blew out its third candle a few months earlier, was still limited to iPhone voice control, the Seattle firm promised us an artificial intelligence capable of simplifying our lives by controlling our connected homes. A revolution that seems straight out of a science fiction book that has not failed to fascinate many fans of technology, in particular home automation, then to reach a much larger audience whose interest would however be little by little fading ...
according to Bloomberg Businessweek, Amazon would indeed have a hard time capturing the attention of users ofAlexa. Worse still, the financial magazine claims to have consulted internal documents indicating that 15 to 25% of new users stopped using their smart speaker after just a week. Information thatAmazon partly disputes, claiming that they are either obsolete or inaccurate. So, info or poison?
Amazon Alexa losing speed?
A few days after the e-commerce giant said it had registered a 1.2% decline in sales of its devices Amazon Echo in 2021. The magazine Bloomberg Businessweek took the opportunity to throw a stone in the pond by asserting thatAlexa would actually struggle to gain user interest after a few weeks of use.
According to a graph from internal company documents, Alexa would actually only be used every week by only 74% of users de smart Echo Show displays, this percentage falling to 66% for those with a single speaker Amazon Echo and 56% for owners of an Echo Dot. Figures to be taken with a grain of salt, especially since they are presented to us without additional information.
Information also quickly denied by Kinley Pearsall, press relations director ofAmazon, who says in an email that his company has never been so optimistic about him. "The assertion that the growth ofAlexa slows down is not exact. " She says. « The point is thatAlexa continues to grow - we are seeing an increase in customer usage and Alexa is used in more homes around the world than ever before ”.
"The assertion that the growth ofAlexa slows down is not exact. "
A craze that Gianmaria Visconti rightly noted, Amazon Alexa Country Manager, who explained to us on the occasion of the 3 years of the French-speaking version that “During the first three years since arriving in France, the number of customers actively using Alexa has grown considerably, 50% per year, and, in 2021 alone, 2,4 billion interactions were carried out between French users and Alexa. A finding that we can only corroborate as careful observers ofAlexa since he started.
Nonetheless, one should not deny the current limitations of voice assistants, just as it is fashionable to admit that they are not the sole fact of life either.Alexa...
A systemic problem?
Although the Bloomberg article only targetsAmazon, the problem actually appears to be systemic. Indeed, anyone who uses it daily will tell you, voice assistants are still extremely limited. None is exempt from the rule. Whether it isAlexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Bixby or even XiaoAI, all have enormous progress to make. In question, the youth of their technologies on the one hand, the necessary learning of their artificial intelligences on the other hand, but also the sometimes too high expectations of their users.
Still young, assistants lack a certain maturity and can be frustrating for some users whose expectations are probably too high, and not necessarily always in line with the current capacities of these machines.
As explained to Bloomberg Greg Gottesman, CEO and co-founder of Pioneer Square Labs, “We are still ahead. In five years, in ten years, people will be using Alexa for much more than these three things ". Indeed, if we put aside the uses Smart Home, we can consider that a voice assistant will only be used for audio or video streaming, to better manage his time with small applications, and to communicate with his relatives.
« Amazon recorded in France more than 490 million interactions between connected devices and Alexa […] "
This is all the more true since, although applications have existed since the 1980s, home automation is still far from being everyday for everyone. However, to this day, the main use of a voice assistant remains the connected home. If you don't have connected objects to control, the experience is necessarily much more limited, the uses therefore being limited to music, radio, and some practical features such as timers, calendars, reminders and other reminders.
On the contrary, for those wishing to benefit from the comfort of a Smart Home, the possibilities already go far beyond, as we mentioned just last week in our guide Alexa for new users.
Alexa at the heart of our connected homes
On the occasion of his seventh birthday, Amazon gave us some figures relating to the use ofAlexa as part of the connected home. It must be said that with more than 140 compatible devices, she is the most efficient assistant in this field.
Connected bulbs and sockets, doorbells videos and CCTV cameras, smart televisions, robot vacuum cleaners or Wi-Fi routers can now be controlled by voice thanks to Alexa who proposes more than 600 skills related to the connected home. Last year, Amazon recorded in France more than 490 million interactions between connected devices and Alexa, French users having programmed over 250 million routines in order to automate and simplify their days.
In short, you will understand, if Amazon employs over 10 people to Alexa, Bloomberg citing fixed costs of 4,2 billion in 2021, this is obviously not without reason. Given the still very low equipment rate of the population, the Smart Home is indeed called to become colossal. The world n ° 1 in e-commerce has understood this and is working, as a good trader, to make its voice assistant essential in the field and to make it the nerve center of our connected homes.
His latest opus, Echo Show 15, is a perfect illustration of this, Amazon responding with this product to a pressing demand from users ofAlexa to be able to control their systems from a touch screen placed on a wall. And the company created by Jeff Bezos does not intend to stop there, already working on its future evolutions, in particular the domestic robot. Amazon Astro presented last September.
In short, bury Alexa and others would be stupid and no doubt that like the Internet and smartphones, which have both taken more than 10 years to establish themselves, voice assistants will one day also be everyone's daily life. We can bet that, from then on, we will be entitled to the same fuss about Astro and domestic robotics ...