Alexa-Oriented Integrator Brings Insights to TecHomeX Panel

Amazon Alexa and voice control solutions are dominating the TecHome ecosystem, and one integrator shared his success stories with the technology at this year’s TecHomeX. 

One of the event’s Luncheon Keynote sessions, titled “2017 TecHome Game Changers,” outlined the latest and greatest technologies hitting the marketplace this year. Gordon van Zuiden, president of cyberManor, joined KB Home’s Jacob Atalla, Wardell Builders’ Terry Wardell and CEDIA’s David Pedigo to discuss the exciting innovations coming to the industry in 2017.

Specifically, van Zuiden discussed his experiences with voice control and Amazon Alexa after his involvement with a recent project from Brookfield Residential.

RELATED: Alexa, Sell my Home: Using Voice Control as a Sales Tool

Speech bubbles turn the home's marketing into an interactive experience for the potential buyer.
Speech bubbles turn the home’s marketing into an interactive experience for the potential buyer.

Intrigue Leads to Innovation

This integrator’s interest in Amazon Alexa and voice control was sparked into a fire after seeing a demonstration video from Dan Quigley, who is now the principal technical product manager for Amazon Echo.

“I thought to myself, ‘This is a potentially intriguing interface for the home,’” says van Zuiden.

While van Zuiden was seeing plenty of voice control solutions hitting the market from major names like Google and Microsoft, he noticed something in Amazon that set it apart.

“Amazon thought differently,” he says. “It really saw the home control space as becoming an integral part of its strategy.”

Amazon’s aspirations led to the company approaching cyberManor in order to penetrate the integration channel. From there, cyberManor installed various Alexa solutions into celebrity homes and even a “Beast Mode” apparel store owned by former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch.

This eventually paved the way for cyberManor’s partnership with homebuilder Brookfield Residential, which brought van Zuiden to the forefront of residential homebuilding and technology.

5 Key Criteria for Voice Control Advancement

Alexa can learn specific smart home skills, like "Movie Time."
Alexa can learn specific smart home skills, like “Movie Time.”

Brookfield Residential hired cyberManor for discovery, consulting, design/engineering and hand-off services for its Amazon Alexa concept homes. You can read more details about the concept homes here.

Gordon van Zuiden has learned a lot about voice control since the inception of this partnership. For starters, he believes Amazon has a significant lead in this marketplace due to its impressive collection of “skills” being developed in the smart home space.

However, he still believes there is room for advancement in voice control, and outlines five key criteria necessary for progress.

  1. Contextual Control – Voice control needs to become more contextual. This way, users can have something that resembles a conversation with their voice-controlled device. This will be achieved through a more natural interface.
  2. Personalization – Voice control devices will need to personalize further. Devices should eventually be able to comprehend who is talking to them and tailor control to the user.
  3. Locational Awareness – Devices will need to know where voices are coming from. Instead of saying, “Alexa, turn on the master bedroom lights,” the device should be able to understand that the voice is coming from the master bedroom. This way, users can just say “Turn on the lights,” and Alexa will be able to piece together the rest of the puzzle.
  4. Local Caching – Individual devices will need to collect data about users, locally, as they interact with them, reducing reliance on the cloud.
  5. Artificial Intelligence – As voice control advances, AI will play a greater role in the solution.