The article chronicles the history of how Amazon was working on the Echo way back in 2011. However, they didn’t seem to know if it was going to be successful as it was an entirely new concept. Were consumers going to understand something with no screen that would always be listening? Admittedly even after the release of the Echo, it’s taken me some time to get accustomed to the idea.
The article continues to give details on how they reached a nearly impossible engineering feat (at the time) in getting Alexa to respond to people’s commands in around 1.5 seconds. Even with that hurdle conquered, there was a matter of making it extremely user-friendly which required a very process of user-testing.
The final hurdle is one that I believe Amazon is still trying to clear today. In order to sell the Echo to consumers they need a “killer use case.” This was clearly going to be music as that’s what testers said they used the most. However, this lead to an interesting paradox. They didn’t want the Echo to be seen as just a way to play music. Indeed, now it is considered the de-facto home-automation hub.
You may have noticed that recently Amazon is marketing the things other than music that the Echo can do. For example, you always read about it being able to order an Uber or Domino’s Pizza.
Overally, it is a fascinating read and it’s one of the reasons why I’m so excited to write about Amazon Echo and Alexa Voice Services.