At the company’s re:Mars conference yesterday, Amazon showed off a Alexa’s new multi-tasking functionality, which allows the virtual assistant to engage in more contextual interactions and commands.
Normally Alexa is a mono-tasking machine, which means you have to break up your requests into single items, all of which much start with your saying “Alexa.”
“Alexa, what time is the movie playing?”
“Alexa buy me tickets to the movie at 7:00.”
“Alexa, what restaurants are near the movie theater?”
But as discussed at re:Mars, soon Alexa will be able to collapse these multiple requests into more of a single, multi-part conversation. So when you buy your movie tickets, Alexa will then ask if you want to eat out nearby restaurant, make your reservation and even call you an Uber.
What immediately springs to my mind, however, is not having Alexa plan my date night, but how the virtual assistant’s new multitasking functionality could help in the kitchen. (Does that make me a bad husband?)
More than 100 million Alexa devices have been sold, and according to a January article on The Verge, there are “more than 150 products with Alexa built in, more than 28,000 smart home devices that work with Alexa made by more than 4,500 different manufacturers, and over 70,000 Alexa skills.”
Those products include kitchen devices big and small like LG appliances, GE microwaves, the June Oven, and even the Silo food storage system. Just like Alexa connecting movie tickets, dining and transportation, it should also be able to better connect various parts of your connected kitchen.
For example, you could ask Alexa for a lasagna recipe. Alexa could then check with the cameras in your connected fridge and your grocery purchase history to see if you have all the ingredients. If you’re missing something, it will be happy to order it for you same day delivery. Alexa could then ask what time you want to eat, set a reminder and pre-heat the oven at the appropriate time and show you a video on how to make the lasagna. After the lasagna reaches a certain cook time, Alexa could also turn on your June to cook a side.
The point is that thanks to yesterday’s news, all of these actions will be automatically coordinated via a single conversation with Alexa pushing some suggestions and contextually reacting to other requests.
The result of this multi-tasking Alexa will be a better guided cooking system that makes it more of a true assistant.