Amazon is moving the service that directs the Echo device that's closest to you to answer your question — sending it up into its cloud. The shift may sound like just a technology upgrade, but the change is something users with multiple Alexa devices will likely appreciate.
The technology is called Echo Spatial Perception, or ESP, and not to be confused with the psychic ability to read your mind (although one day who knows.) Amazon uses this to help know that when you're asking the Alexa device what the weather is in the bedroom, it's the Echo Dot on your bedside table you want to answer, and not the one in the kitchen.
When you speak to Alexa, all the Echo devices in range will likely perk up, turning on their blue lights to indicate they're listening. But with ESP, the one that's closest responds, with any other device shutting down the listening feature.
Previously, devices that were Alexa-enabled including the C by GE Sol smart light, weren't guaranteed as being able to access ESP. Now, with the technology shifting to the cloud, these products will be able to tap into the ability without having to get a physical or software upgrade themselves. More importantly, these devices can now be part of the ESP network, and answer is they're closer than, say, your Echo Show in the living room.
When GearBrain reviewed the Sol light in April, GE told us that ESP was not active in the device, but expected that feature to be available soon — and it is.
Amazon says the update will also give Alexa devices more accuracy in their hearing and responses, "even in noisy environments," the company said on its blog.
While just one in six people own a single smart speaker in the U.S., this multiple Alexa scenario is hardly the norm. Amazon is not one to think small however, and is clearly preparing for a time when you'll have these chatty devices peppering every room in your home. Because really there's nothing worse than having the wrong smart talking speaker answer you. Nothing.