The cynic would think that the Amazon Echo and Alexa is just a trojan horse to allow Amazon to sell more products.
Well, that’s wrong. It might be a trojan horse that will allow Amazon to sell more… services.
Think about it, you can listen to music on Alexa, but you can’t select songs unless you’ve got the prime version of Amazon Music our paid for Amazon Music.
You can’t watch videos on your Echo Show unless you’ve got Amazon Prime account.
Can’t buy products without Prime, you can only add them to your basket so that you can transact later in the app on the website.
You can’t listen to Audible without an Audible subscription and even the new Alexa services like Amazon Guard – Guard will recognize things like broken glass through Alexa, things like that and then it will play dog barking noises etc to ward off burglars.
There’s been some improvements to that lately, but it’s going to come at a cost when they eventually roll it out.
So you can think of Alexa as having layers: the core base assistant that you get when you buy an Echo for 30 quid and all of the additional premium services that can be sold to make Alexa more useful and more helpful or more entertaining, whatever it is that you need.
But then you see the technology advancements like Alexa Conversations, deep neural net text-to-speech voices and you think ‘well, someone’s got to pay for all of that advancement and all that technology’ and maybe services is the thing that’s going to drive revenue for Amazon on Alexa.