Launched two years ago, Amazon’s influencer program still isn’t quite going anywhere, say brands, agencies and influencers. Most people don’t know about the program. It invites celebrities, micro-influencers and, in some cases, regular people with moderate followings to sign up for their own…
- “We had a spectacular holiday,” Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services, said when I called last month to chat about the assistant’s future.
- Amazon is famously cagey about sales numbers, but Mr. Limp braved a slight disclosure: “We’ve said we’ve sold tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices, but I can assure you that last year we also sold tens of millions of just Echo devices. At that scale, it’s safe to now call this a category.”
- At least 50 devices are now powered by Alexa, and more keep coming. They include dozens of Echo-like smart speakers, home thermostats, light fixtures, dashboard cameras, smartphones, headphones, a smoke alarm and a very strange robot.
- But there are also advantages to Alexa’s model for ubiquity. Imagine if you could gain access to your smartphone on just about any screen you encountered. Move from your phone to your TV to your laptop to your car, and wherever you went, you’d find all your apps, contacts and data just there, accessible through the same interface.
- That model isn’t really possible for phones. But because Alexa runs in the cloud, it allows for a wondrously device-agnostic experience. Alexa on my Echo is the same as Alexa on my TV is the same as Alexa on my Sonos speaker.
- And it’s the same even on devices not in your home. Ford — the first of several carmakers to offer Alexa integration in its vehicles — lent me an F-150 pickup outfitted with Alexa. The experience was joyously boring: I called up Alexa while barreling down the highway, and although she was slower to respond than at home, she worked just the same. She knew my musical tastes, my shopping list, the apps and smart-home services I had installed, and just about everything else.
- It was the best showcase of the possibilities of always-on voice computing. In the future, wherever you go, you can expect to talk to a computer that knows you, one that can get stuff done for you without any hassle.
- Is big tech robbing the country’s revenues by declaring their intellectual property resides in offshore tax havens ?
- Are they devaluing the country’s technical labor force by using lower-wage offshore nationals ?
- Is the Governmental without objection because they are so far behind ?
- Is big tech the reason so many qualified workers are out of work ?
- Nvidia will also install cameras to recognise what food people are taking from the cafeteria and charge them accordingly, eliminating the need for a queue and cashier. A self-driving shuttle will eventually zip between its various buildings. And Nvidia’s own AI will monitor when employees arrive and leave, with the ostensible aim of adjusting the building’s heating and cooling systems.
- The data that firms can collect on their employees’ whereabouts and activities are bound to become ever more detailed. Another way of keeping tabs on people is through company-issued mobile phones. “Every employee has their own tracking device,” observes Mr Howder at Gensler. “Technology firms will sooner or later take advantage of that.”
- Few of them are willing to share details of their future plans because of concerns about employees’ privacy. However, some of their contractors signal what sort of innovations may be in the pipeline. Office-furniture makers, for example, are experimenting with putting sensors in desks and chairs, so that firms will be better able to monitor when workers are there.
- Security remains a major concern, with new exploits popping up on a regular basis. In one example, hackers were able to break through the sandboxing that’s meant to minimize vulnerabilities in Google Chrome.
- Flash is also a notorious resource hog, which is a problem as laptops become thinner, lighter, and more reliant on power efficiency for long battery life.
- Netflix and YouTube both work without Flash, as does Google Play Music and Rdio.
- Amazon also started rolling out an HTML5 player in 2015www.geekwire.com/2015/amazon-starts-rolling-out-html5-web-player-moving-beyond-silverlight-and-flash/