Amazon's Alexa already has extensive reach in the smart home realm. The digital assistant can connect and control cameras, door locks, lights, entertainment systems, and thermostats. Now, the company has revealed that Alexa will soon be able to help out in the kitchen by connecting to different appliances.
The company took to the Alexa blog to announce new tools within the Smart Home Skills API that will allow developers to add cooking skills using Alexa. Developers and manufacturers will be able to build skills to enable customers to control cooking devices, like microwave ovens using the digital assistant.
"Customers can ask Alexa to set microwave cook times, modes, power levels, and more instead of using the traditional and often confusing microwave experience,” says Amazon Developer Mike Maas.
What Brands Are Using Amazon's New Smart Home Skill API?
Support for other cooking devices, such as conventional ovens will arrive with Alexa support in the near future. What’s more, big brands including GE Appliances, Kenmore, Whirlpool and LG are also planning to add Alexa to their kitchen appliances.
According to Amazon, Whirlpool plans to have the skill ready for its connected microwaves soon.
Meanwhile, the June Oven is already Alexa enabled and now works through voice control, thanks to the custom skills for the digital assistant. The countertop and built-in versions of the smart oven use cameras to identify what food a user is making and sets the cooking parameters. The device can currently differentiate between 25 different meals.
For foods it cannot identify, users will have to ask Alexa to speak to June and give the oven the information. It will use its sensors and machine learning to take care of the rest.
What Skills Do Products Get With Amazon's Latest Smart Home API?
Some of the examples Amazon gives in its developer blog include, “Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken,” and “Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high.” If a microwave has a much-used preset, users will be able to turn it on with a voice command, too.
GE has already made some wall ovens compatible with Alexa. Users are able to set the oven temperature to 350 degrees while their hands are otherwise preoccupied, or say things like, “Alexa, set the microwave to 50 percent power for three minutes.” This helps for households that are busy multitasking in the kitchen.
Currently, the new cooking Smart Home Skill API is only available in the United States. It will be available in other countries soon.