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The Digital Assistant War for Home Automation Device Supremacy is about to get Really Heated

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"In less than a year, Amazon's combination of the Echo speaker system and the Alexa voice-controlled digital assistant has come close to delivering on the elusive promise of easy-to-use technology that can control gadgets in the home with a few spoken words. Yet Amazon's surprise success with Echo sets up a long-term battle with Apple and Alphabet's Google for primacy in the connected household. And the contours of that competition are following a classic tech industry dynamic," Reuters reports.


"Amazon is pursuing an open-systems approach that allows quick development of many features, while Apple is taking a slower route, asserting more control over the technology in order to assure security and ease-of-use. The strategic importance of the 'connected home' niche looms large: Amazon wants a way to own its customer interactions - mainly shopping online - without an Apple phone or a Google Web browser as an intermediary.  Apple needs to keep the iPhone at the center of customers' lives, and has built a whole home automation architecture, called HomeKit, into its smartphone."


Stephen Nellis reporting for Reuters further noted that "Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said the company is leading the industry by being the first to integrate home automation into a major platform with iOS 10. 'The number of HomeKit-compatible accessories continues to grow rapidly with many exciting solutions announced just this month.' 


For the smart home, the key developer partners are the makers of household devices ranging from lighting systems to refrigerators. There are currently about 250 devices that are certified to work with Alexa, and Amazon has encouraged rapid development of third-party applications with its open-systems approach and even financial incentives for some partners.


Apple's HomeKit, by contrast, has about 100 certified devices. And the reasons behind that gap show both the risks and the potential rewards of Apple's approach." Read the full Reuters report here as they continue the report showing the two approaches to market Apple and Amazon have, as in one is closed while the other is open.


While the article touched on Google Home using Google Assistant that could be another winner in this category of device driven by digital assistants, others are bound to be entering the market over time such as Samsung who will be introducing their digital assistant 'Bixby' with the release of the galaxy S8. Samsung's Viv based technology will be used in vehicle infotainment systems, home appliances and likely an Echo-like device.


Lastly, Microsoft's digital assistant Cortana will be supported by many Echo-like devices, with one specific one debuting later this year from Harman Kardon as we noted in graphic below from our report last Friday about this very topic.



While Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella downplayed Microsoft entering the home-automation device market directly due to the Harman Kardon device, a new patent filing surfacing this week proved that Microsoft is at least working on a next-gen type of home-automation device that is far more advanced than the Echo. Our report on this invention will be posted later this morning.(See: A Microsoft Patent Reveals a Highly Advanced Home Automation Device that's Miles ahead of Amazon's Echo)


In the end, Reuters report is interesting and helpful in helping us see how the war for the home is about to get very fierce as tech companies fight for supremacy of the living room / TV room. But the Reuters report limits the war between Android and iOS. Yet the war is going to expand beyond those platforms through to Microsoft's Windows and likely Samsung's Tizen this year and beyond. So there's a long way to go before we see who are going to be the top five system vendors in the U.S. and around the globe.


There's probably more potential here for Apple then their current Apple Watch, so hopefully we'll see rumors turn into facts later this year.


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