Alexa turns 3 in India: How Amazon skillfully made homes smarter, one Echo device at a time

By: |
February 11, 2021 1:20 PM

Let's take a look at Alexa's achievements in India!

Amazon Alexa, amazon echo devicesWhen Amazon launched Alexa, it wasn't playing around. (Image: Reuters)

Amazon Alexa: Amazon Alexa is turning three years old in India, in 2021, and the smart assistant is at an all time feature high in the country! February 15 would mark three years since Alexa and Echo devices were made available by Amazon in India, and since then the smart voice assistant has not looked back. Quickly becoming a consumer favourite, the smart voice assistant even came as a big support to consumers who were feeling down during the coronavirus lockdown. And now, to celebrate this milestone, Amazon has announced a 24-hour blockbuster session starting February 15 at 12 midnight, where users would be able to grab their favourite Alexa or Echo products on Amazon India’s website.

Let’s take a look at some of Alexa’s achievements in India!

Penetration into non-metro cities

Despite Flipkart launching much before Amazon entered India, the latter took the country by a storm. And in a true testament to the power that Amazon now holds over the e-commerce industry, within a span of three years, the Echo devices by the company have penetrated into non-metro cities. So much so that non-metro cities account for more than 50% of the Alexa users in India. This feat, however, not only indicates how well Amazon has been performing in India, but also the way the country has been widely accepting the AI-run smart voice assistant.

Such quick penetration and adoption of new technology in non-metro cities is a rare event in India, with most services and companies taking at least half a decade of being established in metro cities before they even begin operations in such places. Against this backdrop, the fact that not only did Amazon ensure delivery of Echo devices to non-metro cities but also that these cities adapted to this new technology within a span of three years is a major feather in Amazon’s cap.

A companion during the lockdown

As people dealt with anxiety, depression and other negative emotions during the pandemic while being stuck within the four walls of their homes for the majority of 2020, Alexa witnessed a 67% increase in user interactions as compared to 2019. The Alexa AI enables it to listen to commands from the users and execute them, making it simple for any and all family members to play the songs of their liking, to pull up their to-do lists, or even to help them with guided meditation. Due to the wide outreach of Amazon and the penetration of the Echo devices and the amount of time spent at home, this increased interaction does not come as much of a surprise. Another added factor to this increased interaction is the fact that some people, during the lockdown, even felt alone, and in such cases, people tend to have conversations with their smart assistants due to their ability to carry out human-like interactions.

The Alexa domination

When Amazon launched Alexa, it wasn’t playing around. Over the years, it has released not only Alexa-enabled Echo devices, but also brought Alexa support to its Amazon Fire Stick. While the Fire Stick helped convert regular televisions into Smart TVs, the support for Alexa made it more accessible, and also more convenient. Not just that but devices like headphones and fitness trackers also got Alexa support during this time.

However, that was apparently nowhere near the end, because Amazon then introduced Smart Plugs in India, which have Alexa support and allow users to run whatever device is plugged into it by just a simple voice command. Smart lights and other home gadgets are also being run through Alexa support. In fact, as per the figures released by Amazon, in 2020, users controlled home gadgets like ACs and smart lights and fans through Alexa about 8.6 lakh times a day.

And now that Amazon has added more utility features to Alexa which would allow users to pay water, electricity or DTH bills and even book gas cylinders just using simple voice commands, the e-commerce giant seems to be ensuring that Alexa’s utility increases so dramatically that it becomes an imperative part of how people do things.

Amazon brought to India a disruptive technology three years ago, and it is, indeed, slowly changing how things are done, one device at a time.

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