Don't you just hate it, spending so much time looking for missing keys, phones and purses? Well, Amazon offers its voice-activated AI, Alexa, to help you track those missing items.
Amazon Echo is a wireless speaker and voice command device released by Amazon in November 2014. The device responds to the name "Alexa," and is capable of voice interaction initiating web search, music playback, and podcast streaming. The built-in voice assistant also provides real-time news, traffic and weather updates, marks calendars, sets up alarms and even controls other smart home devices.
Of course, Amazon is not stopping there.
According to Reuters, Amazon is investing a hefty sum of money between $250,000 and $500,000 into a Bluetooth technology company called TrackR, to improve Alexa's capabilities.
TrackR is a fledgling company that offers coin-sized Bluetooth tags called TrackR Bravo, which can be clipped or attached to keys, phones, purses and other small items that easily get misplaced. Each tag costs $30 and comes in packs of two or four.
By downloading the TrackR app on iOS- or Android-powered smartphones, users can locate the area where their missing item is and ring the device to find it. In the event that the phone gets misplaced, users can press the Bluetooth tag to ring the phone.
By combining the current features of Echo with the innovative tracking technology of Bravo, Alexa can now assist users in unearthing missing items tagged with a TrackR device. This integration was first announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and has been in the works since.
"The ability to bring on more partners and realize that you are building an entire ecosystem – I think that is what was really important for us," said TrackR co-founder Chris Herbert.
Unlike its competition – Apple and Google – Amazon allows other devices to integrate with its AI technology. Tech Times earlier reported that Amazon has set aside a $100 million "Alexa Fund" to invest on third party projects, which will enhance its AI capabilities. At present, Amazon has made 15 investments through the Alexa Fund, including the kitchen prep device Orange Chef, and the smart home garage door opener Garageio.
There is no actual announcement yet when the actual Echo and TrackR integration will be deployed, but it is creating enough hype among tech enthusiasts.
In the latest 2016 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, TrackR unveiled its "Works with TrackR" program, which basically informs potential investors about the products the company is innovating. Aside from Amazon, TrackR has also partnered with HP in creating a traceable laptop bag with a unique pocket designed for TrackR Bravo tags. TrackR's open software attracts the attention of third party developers who wish to integrate their design with the existing tracking device.