Published: Fri, January 19, 2018
Tech | By Constance Martin

Amazon Alexa and Echo set for Febuary launch

Amazon Alexa and Echo set for Febuary launch

With the coming expansion, subscribers to the Individual Plan and Family Plan in Australia and New Zealand will have access to the Amazon Music app for iOS and Android, making a catalogue of almost 45 million songs available ad-free for offline playback on mobile devices, anywhere and anytime without an internet connection.

Aussies can ask Alexa to check the weather, the traffic and sports scores, as well as to play music, or set music alarms and timers.

Today, customers in these markets can pre-order three different Echo devices. However, if you're quick, there's a $30 discount off RRP to celebrate the launch, so jump on in. The smart speakers go on sale in early February, and will be up for purchase at JB Hi-FI, Officeworks, Telstra and Myer. The retailer claims that there will be more than 10,000 Alexa skills available in Australia, and this number already includes a number of skills developed by local Australian businesses.

Similarly, online services marketplace Airtasker and tradesman-hiring platform Hipages have both launched Alexa skills.

"One day, the Alexa will be consulted as if she were just another family member at the dinner table - in the same way forward-thinking companies are starting to add AI company directors". Using the REA skill, consumers can access curated content from more than 1200 articles published monthly on the website by 45 journalists across the country.

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Tariq Hassanen, Innovation Product Manager at amaysim signalled a move to a whole new way of interacting with business "Conversational interfaces will become ubiquitous in Australian homes within the next 2-3 years".

Rival tradesman marketplace, hipages, also claimed to be one of the first transactional skill-based services to integrate with Amazon Alexa in Australia.

According to Sims, though, the regulator encourages "vigorous competition on its merits - and this will see many firms fail".

All three Echo smart speakers are powered by Alexa, the personal assistant developed by Amazon. But when linked to other smart gadgets it can be transformed into the central hub of your smart home, allowing you to control nearly anything in your house via voice command.

Alexa offers an array of functions to serve as a helpful technical guide. Users will be able to search for jobs, get company ratings and receive employment market updates.

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Aetna also published its opioid strategy paper in June 2017, detailing the company's work to prevent misuse and abuse. By 2002, death certificates listed opioid poisoning as a cause of death more commonly than heroin or cocaine.

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