Alexa can order groceries, turn on music and lock up the house at night. Next up? Controlling your kitchen appliances starting with microwave ovens.
Amazon is opening its Smart Home Skill API so cloud-based microwave ovens will be able to connect just by talking to them. Starting today, third-party manufacturers who make these ovens, will be able to link their devices in the U.S., with support for other countries following. Conventional ovens — as long as they connect wirelessly — will be next.
How will this work? Using the appropriate Alexa Skill, and saying "Alexa, defrost this 2-pound sirloin steak," will start a microwave and punch in the correct settings — with just your voice. Appliances that have pre-sets are needed — like microwave ovens, conventional ovens, and presumably other cooking devices like slow cookers and perhaps bread makers.
The ability to run our homes just by talking to them is quickly gaining traction. Voice is the new app in controlling devices, particularly in our smart homes. From TVs to smart locks, lights and now ovens — we're gaining more ability to link products together, having them work in tandem when they're operated through a central system like a voice assistant.
The four new skills from Amazon include Alexa.Cooking, Alexa.Cooking.TimeController, Alexa.TimeHoldController, and Alexa.CookingPresetController, says the company. Whirlpool will be the first brand to offer the new Alexa cooking capability, with GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG and Samsung to follow soon, says Amazon.
To presumably speed up adoption in conventional ovens, Amazon's venture capital arm has also invested in June Life, a company that makes a smart oven called the June Oven. A skill for the oven will allow users to pre-heat, set a timer and turn the oven off — just by talking to it.
While turning an oven on and off with your voice is helpful — Alexa is not going to put that frozen steak into your microwave for you. While consumers can order groceries through Alexa-enabled, and Amazon-connected, devices like Amazon Echo and Echo Dot — those items don't beam up from Amazon's warehouse to your refrigerator, or oven. Some human intervention is still needed. Yet the new skills will certainly offer support for multi-tasking cooks at home.
Don't forget to visit GearBrain's What Works with Amazon Alexa to see the other connected devices that work with Amazon Echo and Alexa enabled devices.