Amazon and Microsoft to add voice assistant compatibility

Amazon and Microsoft to add voice assistant compatibility

Amazon and Microsoft to add voice assistant compatibility

That's set to change with Amazon and Microsoft announcing a partnership at the IFA show in Berlin that will see each company's respective virtual assistants, Alexa and Cortana, talk to each other. Well, if you own an Echo speaker, you'll now be able to say "Alexa, open Cortana", and if you have a Windows 10 device, you'll similarly be able to ask Cortana to open Alexa. The integration will help both companies to expand and users will be able to use functionalities of both voice assistants. Users will be able to use the AI assistants by simply saying "Alexa, open Cortana" or "Cortana, open Alexa".

So if you were sitting near an Amazon Echo smart speaker, you'd say: "Alexa, open Cortana" and Cortana would then be live.

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Cortana will be bringing its voice assistant skills to Alexa's deep integration with Amazon.

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Premium home-speaker company Sonos has scheduled a media event for October 4 in New York City, where it is expected to introduce its first speaker with integrated voice controls.

Microsoft has responded by pouring billions of dollars into an effort to reshape its software to compete with AWS - fashioning a cloud-computing unit widely seen as No. 2 behind Amazon.

In addition to creating meetings and updating calendar information, Cortana has other features that make it suitable for both customers and enterprises, and is integrated into Windows 10.

With Google Assistant, users of the Sony LF-S50G speaker can start playing music, turn up the volume, or skip to the next track just by using their voice, starting with "OK Google".

In an official blog, Andrew Shuman, Corporate Vice President, Cortana Engineering, Microsoft states that by bringing Cortana to Alexa and Alexa to Cortana, the company is trying to add more value and choice for consumers and developers alike. Despite the advances made by AI personal assistants such as Apple's Siri and Google's efforts, they have effectively been "walled-gardens" separate from each other. However, that the two rivals would get into a partnership so soon was quite unexpected, more so because it is quite unlikely for tech giants to collaborate on new and important technologies, as they prefer to stand out from the competition. In addition, the swell of internet connected devices like smart thermostats and speakers is giving voice assistants more utility in a connected consumer's life. CEO, Jeff Bezos, believes Echo owners could do with a bit of outside assistance.

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