Amazon launches Echo and Alexa in Italy and Spain

Amazon launches Echo and Alexa in Italy and Spain
Amazon announced today its Echo speakers and Alexa assistant are now available for the Italy and Spain markets, along with skills that are tailor-made for customers in the two countries.
 
Hundreds of skills integrating Italian and Spanish brands like RAI, Giallo Zafferano, BTicino, Televisión Española, Renfe and EL PAÍS were announced in Amazon’s announcement.
 
Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Spot and Echo Sub are available for pre-order in Italy and Spain today and will begin shipping next week. In addition, devices with Alexa built-in will be launched by third-party vendors like Sonos, Bose, Harman Kardon, Netgear and Sony.
 
“We’ve built a new experience that honors the unique cultures in Italy and Spain, ensuring Alexa knows what matters most to customers just as a local would,” said Toni Reid, Vice President of Amazon Alexa.
 
What Amazon has done is not easy, given that it is challenging to achieve localization. Making voice assistant to speak different languages is not easy. The complex process of speech recognition and translation involves understanding dialect and accent variations, in addition to local knowledge or culture, which encompasses music, retail markets, news, celebrities, jokes, etc. Generating spoken languages require a lot of resources too.
 
This explains why companies like Amazon and Google are both partnering with local players in the field of artificial intelligence to create a suitable products and services for local markets.
 
There is an increase in the purchase of smart speakers, thanks to the rise of technological awareness among consumers. Amazon Echo is projected to continue to evolve with integration of more skills and features, and to reach even more customers in the near future.
 
According to a new consumer survey by Strategy Analytics, the most popular smart speaker model in the U.S. is the Amazon Echo, which accounts for 23% of all smart speakers in use. Including all its models, Amazon accounts for 63% of smart speakers in use, while Google accounts for 17% and Apple 4%.
 
Alexa is the leading intelligent virtual assistant thanks to functions like podcast streaming, making to-do lists, playing audiobooks, etc. Furthermore, low cost and high efficiency of Alexa have led to increased consumer preference for Alexa smart speakers.

Global demand for smart speakers

 
Global smart speaker market is expected to rise with a compound annual growth rate of 35% during 2017-2024. The key factors driving the market growth are rising disposable income, growing trend of personalization, increasing number of smart homes and increased adoption of multifunctional devices. However, issues related to connectivity range, compatibility and power is the major factor restricting growth.
 
Smart speakers may help to bridge the digital divide in the way smartphones did. There are people who are not computer savvy, and the introduction of smartphones simply outpaced the computer revolution as people find smartphones easier to use while providing great utility.
 
With smart speakers, people who are not familiar with electronic gadgets can make things happen with voice commands. They can control smart home devices as well as make general inquires without touching anything. The voice control user interface could be intuitive for senior citizens.
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