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Author Topic: Amazon Echo  (Read 6191 times)

HA Dave

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Amazon Echo
« on: November 09, 2014, 12:39:42 AM »

HAL9000? BVC in a canister? A whole lot of awesome?.... yes, yes, yes.

Amazon Echo


http://www.amazon.com/oc/echo/
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New ideas for marketing Smarthomes may alter the Home Automation world completely.... and forever.

Knightrider

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2014, 07:50:00 AM »

And when Amazon goes the way of the old X10, what happens to the cloud server this thing runs on?  Maybe we could sell these $200 hypothetical bricks to the government to build new space shuttles.
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Remote control is cool,

but automation rules!

Knightrider

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2014, 07:52:55 AM »

Sorry, but I don't trust the Cloud. Then again, I was an avid DOS user who believed Windows was just an Apple rip-off, and that the computer mouse was just a toy like the light pen.
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Remote control is cool,

but automation rules!

Brian H

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2014, 09:33:03 AM »

I also do not trust the Cloud Services.
Comcast had two major Cloud Server failures in the last few weeks. A sizable portion of the X1 Platform users. Had no TV at all and I believe all their cloud stored DVD recordings also disappeared for ever.
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beelocks

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2014, 10:52:00 AM »

For purchase by invitation only.

Methinks 'tis a fancy form of getting a Beta test unit paid for by the suckers elite clientele.
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Although my explanations may not be exactly clear, I do hope for slightly less cloudy.

HA Dave

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2014, 11:00:54 AM »

For purchase by invitation only.

Methinks 'tis a fancy form of getting a Beta test unit paid for by the suckers elite clientele.

HEY.... are you calling me a clientele?!?!?    rofl

The "content" the device provides is from the "Prime members" accounts. So yeah... it is for the $99 dollar a year prime members.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2014, 11:03:32 AM by HA Dave »
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toasterking

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2014, 03:39:53 PM »

Let's look at this from both sides.  Admittedly, I have used neither the Amazon Echo nor BVC, but these are my initial impressions when comparing Echo against BVC:

Why it's better:
The hardware:
  • The hardware comes with it!
  • It's all in a self-contained box.
  • With an array of multiple microphones and noise cancellation, it should be able to hear you better than a single unidirectional mic placed in the room, as long as you're somewhat near it and the acoustics aren't awful.  They claim that it can understand your speech even when its own speaker is playing music.
The cloud-based software:
  • You don't have to install any software and you don't have to maintain an OS to run it.
  • Cloud-based speech recognition software means it can be updated and improved at any time without the user's intervention and can be improved based on the usage patterns of other users, similar to Siri or Google Now.

Why it's worse:
The hardware:
  • The hardware comes with it.  You're forced to use that hardware rather than being free to buy or design and build your own.
  • It's all in a self-contained box.  If you want music or speech recognition in another room, you have to buy another box.
  • The hardware looks functional enough, but once you buy it, you're locked into it and whatever design limitations it has.  With BVC, you aren't forced even to have a device in the corner of the room to pick up your speech; you could even use a wireless headset, which would go a lot further toward reducing feedback and acoustic anomalies than the Echo does.
  • It's a closed system.  If you wanted to try different speech control products, write your own, or make your own improvements, you're out of luck.
The could-based software:
  • It's cloud-based.  If the cloud service ceases to exist, the device becomes useless.
  • It's cloud-based.  If your internet connection goes down, I assume the device won't work at all, even to sync with your local devices.
  • Since it's dependent on the quality of the cloud-side software, any "improvement" made that ends up creating a bug could render the device useless or impaired until it is fixed.  In the interim, there is no option to downgrade the software to remove the bug because the software is in the cloud, out of your control.
  • You must pay a subscription for the service.
  • Since it's always listening and always connected, it could be spying on you.  In fact, to a limited extent, it's guaranteed to in order to improve the service for others.  Read the license agreement very carefully and think hard about how much you trust Amazon to do the right thing with the data it collects.

I'm sure we'll know even more about it soon.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2014, 04:39:44 PM by toasterking »
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toasterking

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2014, 04:45:59 PM »

I think it's really in a different class than BVC since it's really designed around giving answers rather than home control.  But in case you can't tell, I generally prefer solutions I have more control over.  I prefer open standards and local solutions over cloud-based ones.
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dhouston

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2014, 04:51:09 PM »

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toasterking

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dave w

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2014, 04:59:11 PM »

This is off post for the Echo, but I agree with Knight. The "cloud" can (and probably will) go away. Probably when you most need it. Also I don't like the fact that the government can now pull the plug on the internet. Use the cloud but don't depend on it. i.e an internet bank? I would never put money in one.
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toasterking

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2014, 05:30:13 PM »

I think the bigger question is that if all the residents in a house already have iOS or Android devices with access to Siri or Google Now (not that uncommon these days), why would they purchase this "thing" for the house that essentially does the same thing, requires another subscription, and doesn't go with them when they leave?  If they buy one, it has to be shared and only works in one room.  If they buy one for each room, that's a lot of cash for something they already have.  Am I missing something?
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dave w

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2014, 05:35:10 PM »

  If they buy one for each room, that's a lot of cash for something they already have.  Am I missing something?
Nope, I think you nailed it. This will be a toy for the "no budget contraints" technocrat.
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toasterking

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2014, 05:50:32 PM »

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toasterking

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Re: Amazon Echo
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2014, 05:54:17 PM »

Nope, I think you nailed it. This will be a toy for the "no budget contraints" technocrat.

Then I'm definitely not their target audience, but I wish Amazon luck!
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