In Brief

How Amazon’s Alexa has been calling the shots at CES 2019

From remote door keys to light-up loos, the popular voice assistant is well on course to take over your home

Amazon’s Alexa is quickly becoming the must-have technology in the home. 

Whether it’s shouting “Alexa, next” at your Echo speaker or “fast forward” to your Fire TV stick, the voice assistant meets many of your basic needs. And its rise to prominence is akin to other products that have changed the way consumers use technology, such as the iPhone and Microsoft Windows.

So it comes as little surprise that devices using the voice assistant have been some of the hottest talking points of Las Vegas’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Arguably the biggest announcement for an Alexa-powered service came from Amazon itself. At CES, the online retail giant unveiled a new smart home feature aimed at improving parcel delivery when no one is at home. 

The new system, called Key, lets users with Alexa-compatible smart door locks and garages unlock them using voice commands, notes Digital Trends. To ensure you don’t open the door to strangers, users can monitor who’s waiting on the porch using the Key smartphone app and smart home devices equipped with a camera, the tech site adds.

In the US, the system can be used to let Amazon delivery drivers leave a parcel in your garage when you’re not around. The app will alert you that a driver is trying to make a delivery, and you can choose to let them into your garage by remotely unlocking the door. 

To make use of Amazon Key, tech firm TP-Link has launched a host of home products called Kasa Smart that all support the popular voice assistant. 

These include an outdoor security camera that’s capable of recording at 1080p and even supports night vision, says Android Central.

There’s also an Alexa-powered doorbell with an in-built camera from smart home firm Nest, helping you identify someone before remotely letting them into your home. 

Customers in the UK won’t be able to make use of Amazon Key yet, but it could make its way across the Atlantic if it proves to be popular.

Still, the world of voice-controlled home products isn’t just limited to locks and doorbells. 

Among the more obscure Alexa products is Kohler’s Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet, a $7,000 (£5,490) smart lavatory that supports the voice assistant, The Verge reports. Users can change the toilet’s ambient lighting, activate the heated seat or create an Amazon Prime music playlist.

Alexa has even found its way into the world of fashion, too. Toronto-based tech firm North demonstrated a pair of high-tech glasses at CES that are equipped with an onboard speaker and, of course, support for Amazon’s assistant, the BBC says.

While many of these devices may not prove to be the next must-have gadgets, it’s evident that Alexa is, for better or for worse, taking over the home.

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