Voice Activated Assistants (Devices) Push the Boundaries of the Cloud

Suppose you wanted to know when George Washington was born. Typically, you would look it up on the internet or find it in a book. But when you have Amazon Echo, this method will seem antiquated. All you have to do is, ask the device the question. Echo will scour the internet for the answer and find it for you in a jiffy. Welcome to the world of the voice activated assistant.

Amazon Echo is one of the first embedded devices to use the revolutionary ‘always-on and connected to the cloud’ model. However, apps on Alexa are different from apps on other services like iOS and Android. The Alexa app is not actually installed on the device. Rather it is located on the individual’s cloud. When the user wakes Alexa and makes a custom command, the request is routed to the Alexa cloud. If the command is intended for your app, the Alexa sends the request to the app. When it receives a response from the app, it routes the response back to the user. Basically, the device is an interface between the cloud and you.

Amazon has gone a step further and has allowed embedded and software developers to create apps for Alexa to help it respond to custom commands. This is a certainly a new paradigm for the embedded world.