Alexa gets an Aussie flavour with “skills” from Telstra, Westpac, Amaysim and more

Brands keen to jump onto the Alexa bandwagon here in Australia

With Amazon’s announcement early this morning of the availability of it’s Echo range of devices which are powered by their Alexa AI Voice assistant there’s a rush on announcements following that from Aussie brands keen to be seen as part of this new revolution.

From your bank balance to your mobile balance and your smart home devices there’s a range of Aussie options to integrate with Amazon’s Alexa at launch.

Telstra have announced their Smart Home devices such as motion sensors, cameras and lightbulbs can be controlled through an Echo devices.

Telstra’s Director of Product Jeremy Howe said “Smart home technology is already making a real difference to the lives of many Australian households, and we’re excited to welcome Amazon Alexa as a service in the Australian market.  

In the past we’ve noted the continuing and growing importance of voice services, and now we’re working with Amazon to allow our Telstra Smart Home® customers to seamlessly control lights, smart plugs and thermostats, by talking to Alexa on their Amazon Echo. 

Soon, customers with a Telstra Smart Home® Automation and Energy Starter kit and an Amazon Echo will be able to ask Alexa to turn their lights on when they come home with their arms full of groceries or use a smart power plug to get the coffee brewing for an early morning cuppa by simply talking to their Amazon Echo. Over time, we’ll continue to work with Alexa to build more integration with our current and future Smart Home range.  

The ability to control Telstra Smart Home® using your voice opens up great opportunities for our older customers and Australians with mobility issues who will be able to turn appliances and lights on and off without needing to move around their house or wait for help or use their smartphone.”

Over at Westpac it’s all about knowing your balance, with Alexa able to answer the question “ask Westpac how much money I have in my savings account.”

There will also be specialised financial news available with Alexa which you can customise with the Westpac app.

George Frazis, Chief Executive, Consumer Bank said: “We know our customers want a seamless banking experience that fits with their needs and complements their lifestyles.

“As more people adopt innovative voice-activated technologies in an increasingly mobile world, we are excited to be one of the leaders in this space providing secure, easy to use, cutting edge banking services for our customers.”

There’s not yet any integration for payments or transfers so you can’t make payments using your voice.

Telco and energy player Amaysim have also launched with Alexa – CEO Julian Ogrin saying “We’re excited to be part of the launch of Amazon Alexa in Australia. Technologies like this help us to deliver greater convenience and a richer experience for our customers. This kind of innovation is changing the way people interact and do things, and at amaysim, we are always looking for new ways to delight our customers,”

Tariq Hassanen, Innovation Product Manager at amaysim signalled a move to a whole new way of interacting with business “Conversational interfaces will become ubiquitous in Australian homes within the next 2-3 years. Alexa allows amaysim to engage with our customers in a more natural way when it comes to account information and other useful services. We are planning to work together with our customers to shape future conversations using Alexa,”

Ordering a Pizza? Domino’s has you covered

Domino’s Group Chief Technology and Digital Officer Michael Gillespie said it brings new meaning to fast and easy online ordering “We have always placed pride in being able to make our customer’s lives easier and fit in with their busy schedules, and we are constantly reviewing ways in which our online ordering process can be faster, easier and more convenient.

 “Amazon Alexa provides the magic of hands-free voice control to let customers to do more in life while being helpful, useful and entertaining, and now ordering Domino’s is one of those things.

“Whether our customers are with friends, in the middle of a movie or at home with their family, they can simply just ask Alexa and Alexa will respond immediately to place that order with Domino’s,” Mr Gillespie said.

These are just some examples of Alexa integration, there are literally hundreds more – while Google Home got the jump on this space last year in Australia it’s very clear Amazon is coming in at full speed.

Echo devices are available to order today, and will be shipped in February.

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Trev produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He hosts a nightly radio show on Talking Lifestyle, 8pm Monday to Friday in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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