Today, with the announcement of the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, we are one step closer to the future.
However, today’s announcement is the first time we have combined a large format screen with a Voice assistant that can handle millions of commands and an open ecosystem – granted Amazon has not opened the floodgates… yet.
“Access more than 7,000 channels, apps and Alexa skills, 300,000 movies and TV episodes, and coming soon, an updated visual experience that makes browsing content even easier.”
This ‘coming soon’ is where the Voice-first Minority Report comes in – very soon, Alexa skills will be able to trigger both voice responses and visualizations.
This opens the door to new experiences. Imagine sitting on your couch, asking Alexa for ‘top new food reviews’ and immediately seeing on your TV the brand new restaurant that got five stars on Yelp. Follow that up with ‘where is it’ and get directions from your house. Ask Alexa for ‘reservation times’ and book a table in 30 minutes.
This experience is hands-free, and inclusive of others you are going to dinner with. After making that plan, you are done and simply say ‘back to House of Cards’ and finish that episode on Netflix before walking out the door.
We have been waiting for this experience for a while, and a truly great experience required three things:
- Voice Recognition that works and is seamlessly connected to a large screen.
- An open ecosystem to enable breadth of content.
- An open connection to enable seamless integration between the platform provider and third parties.
As you can see in the example above, that single experience required connecting to at least three ‘apps’ to deliver the best experience. Any platform that is trying to do it all themselves will innovate slower.
Expect an upcoming announcement that Alexa skills will support Visual responses, just like you can now stream Audio as a response.
Amazon is also first to the market, but just barely – Chromecast Ultra plus Google Home should enable similar functionality, and Apple TV + Siri remote is here, just extremely constrained because it is not an open ecosystem.
It is when users feel that the world is at their beck and call that the magic happens. Voice is a more intuitive way to search, and TV watchers are in ‘lean back’ mode.
Today represents a major step towards the Minority Report future.