At Matchbox we love creating ideas and concepts, especially when the target of our imaginings is as charmingly sleek as the Amazon Echo.
Amazon Echo, also known as Alexa, is a voice command device from Amazon that’s always listening. It has a vast array of existing functions, including; 360º omni-directional audio for immersive sound while playing all your music, voice recognition, question answering, and control of smart devices.
Sounds pretty awesome right? We thought so too, which is why we put together some concepts of new services that would make the most of Echo’s unique abilities. We narrowed our ideas down to three top runners;
Use voice command to set a location-aware alert.
- Reminder when you enter or leave a location
- A set delayed reminder when you enter or leave a location
- Sync with Amazon Alexa app
Traffic and Parking
Find the best place to park and the quickest route.
- On-street parking
- Parking lots
- Fastest routes
- Driver weather warning
Enabling users to make and receive cell phone calls via Echo. For hands free calls and group conversations.
All three are definitely features of Amazon Echo I’d love to use when I, inevitably, bring Alexa into my home. However, one concept in particular does stand out as a current front runner for myself;
Traffic and Parking
I’m a meticulous planner when given the opportunity, it’s in my nature. My family will often make fun of me for thinking through every possible outcome before I make any decision. So naturally, before embarking on an unknown drive, I’ll make sure to check the best route – google map the detailed directions – and plan how early I should leave, giving room for unforeseen traffic congestion. This is where Alexa, and the traffic and parking assistance, would make a world of difference.
Whilst running around packing my bags, I can simply ask her for the current traffic status, which route to take, and where to park once I arrive. (Potentially asking her to print out the directions (to my Wi-Fi connected printer) which I have now decided is worth taking the time to do – after finding myself with a dead phone, missing car charger, and stranded down a mystery road next to a sign that simply said ‘Hill’. That was a tricky one to get out of!)
In this fast paced world where we’re quickly getting used to having everything at our fingertips, it makes sense that getting lost on car rides, spending an hour looking for a parking space (ending up almost back in your driveway), and getting stuck in an avoidable traffic jam should be a thing of the past.
INRIX has spent the past 10 years learning, improving, and evolving their data to ‘engineer systems for Smart Cities that go beyond traffic to address the individual, economic, and environmental challenges of urbanization worldwide’. It would be a pairing between Amazon Echo and INRIX that would allow for the possibilities discussed above. With nearly 2 billion data points gathered and analysed per day, it is easy to see why this would be the best system for Alexa to work with; listening to your questions and providing you with an automotive-grade traffic service.
Amazon Echo is a truly exciting and interesting product that is in a constant state of evolution, it has received over 25,000 reviews since its release, with a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. With our initial ideas whittled down to the three mentioned in this article, there are still many more floating around in the heads of multiple Matchbox employees and we are excited about the numerous opportunities we could bring and incorporate into this intriguing little device.