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So, the Jones family has recently made the leap and moved someone called ‘Alexa’ into the home. She’s not a new tenant or long lost relative, but the voice of the Amazon dot and echo devices.

Phil Jones, Managing Director, Brother UK
Phil Jones, Managing Director, Brother UK

I had been pondering buying an echo for some time, when a conversation in the office finally galvanised me into action. I ordered an Amazon dot, on the dot, to see what all the fuss was about.

Unboxing and installing it that evening was fun as the family got to grips with asking questions like ‘What will the weather be tomorrow?’ and ‘What are the news headlines?’, receiving ‘on-point’ replies from our newest female family member.

Then I got integrating it with other applications.

First the home heating system (we use Hive from British Gas). Then Spotify. Then I realised my new car could also be controlled via the Alexa app. It got me thinking; there is so much you can do.

The following day I ordered an Amazon echo for the kitchen. It’s so handy, while cooking, to be able to set timers, add items to a shopping list, turn on the radio or tee up our latest Discover Weekly playlist. Bark out an instruction and something gets done, with no need for any other action – perfect.

Workplace of the future

Exploring where home automation and integration might go is interesting for the glimpse it gives not only of the homes of the future, but also the workplace.

As we’ve seen, the segue between people’s home life and work life is well and truly blurred, and the services that individuals experience in their home environment are increasingly impacting their expectations at work.

Imagine an environment where this technology – the voice recognition and integration, more than the sales vehicle behind it – is fully integrated into a work environment. By suddenly making a process easier or more convenient for the specifier at point of need, it has the potential to disrupt an existing purchasing pattern and make life much easier for users.

It’s made me think about our own interface to technology like this – that’s what being a ‘digital first’ business is all about – and how an ecosystem can quickly be born as businesses rush to integrate their offer into this new marketplace. A reminder for us all to continually keep our eyes on the future.

“Alexa, set me a reminder to stay relevant.”

See you out there.
Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director,
Brother UK

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2018