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Amazon is doubling down on its voice-oriented “Alexa everywhere” strategy as it strives to boost the Alexa ecosystem and infuse the voice assistant into as many facets of a consumer’s daily life as possible.
The latest Alexa integration will be with the next-generation Fitbit Versa 2 smartwatch, which the wearables company announced Wednesday. The Versa 2 marks the first major smartwatch that Alexa will be natively embedded in.
Here’s why Alexa’s integration with Fitbit is significant:
- Fitbit’s leading position gives Alexa a wide addressable audience. Fitbit was the third-largest smartwatch vendor by shipments in Q2 2019 after Apple and Samsung respectively, capturing 10% of global shipments during the quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.
- Fitbit Versa 2’s health-focused features can further entrench Alexa in the healthcare market. The smartwatches have heart rate and sleep cycle trackers as well as a forthcoming feature that estimates a user’s blood oxygen levels, which Alexa can likely help to facilitate.
- It could lead to more partnerships down the road. The global smartwatch market is blossoming — shipments grew 44% year-over-year during Q2 2019 — and voice control helps to heighten the user experience. Thus, we expect other smartwatch vendors that lack their own dedicated voice assistants to follow Fitbit’s lead and partner with Amazon to natively embed Alexa in their devices.
Amazon’s efforts to infuse Alexa in smartwatches can help Amazon stay at the forefront of the voice assistant market. Here’s how:
- The integration can help Amazon overcome a weak point when it comes to Alexa adoption. Unlike its voice assistant competitors Apple, Google, and Samsung, Amazon lacks a footprint in the smartphone market. This has hindered the use of Alexa on smartphones, as consumers tend to rely on their phone’s native voice assistant. Alexa’s presence on a smartwatch helps form a bridge to using Alexa on the smartphone, as it’s likely a consumer would use the same voice assistant for both a smartphone and a connected wearable.
- Alexa can become more accessible and omnipresent in a user’s life. While Alexa benefits from Amazon’s expansion of the voice assistant in the smart home, its real staying power will come from being integrated into all aspects of a consumer’s daily life, including in their cars and on their wrists. This in turn can increase Alexa’s frequency of use.
- Adding another form factor to Alexa’s lineup can expand its usefulness. Alexa’s use on smartwatches will expose the voice assistant to more voice data, which Amazon can gather to train and refine the AI that powers it. This will especially be useful for Alexa usage outside of the home, an area that Amazon likely has less voice data around. Increasing Alexa’s exposure to queries such as those concerning navigation can help to improve its accuracy, an area where it currently lags Siri and Google Assistant.
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