Leaders from Amazon’s China offices talk about why devices makers should be excited about Alexa and voice

Arun Krishnan Feb 01, 2022

February 1 marks the beginning Lunar and Chinese New Year — in 2022, we celebrate the Year of the Tiger. In many parts of the world including China, the tiger epitomizes courage and strength.

To mark the occasion of the Lunar New Year, we spoke to leaders from the Alexa business development teams in China about their backgrounds and why device makers should be excited about Alexa and voice. Today, the world's leading OEMs and brands are providing entirely new experiences for their customers by adding Alexa to more than 140,000 smart speakers, lights, plugs, smart TVs, and cameras. Their efforts are enabling device makers to usher in a world of ambient computing — one where products and technologies will anticipate our needs, and make life easier by always being available without being intrusive.  

Kevin Hu, Principal Business Development Manager, Alexa Smart Home

Hu is an Amazon veteran with over nine years of experience at the company. He has an established track record of partnering with leading mobile, e-commerce, advertising and Internet of Things (IoT) brands. At Amazon, Hu manages partnerships with global IoT solution providers for Alexa Smart Home.

Why should device makers be excited about Alexa and voice?

Voice is the most natural and convenient way for customers to engage with devices. Alexa allows device makers to completely reimagine the way they think about their devices. To give just one example, I work closely with Eureka as they introduce ground-breaking robot vacuums and other products. Voice enables Eureka to pioneer a world where robot vacuum cleaners do much more than clean the house. For example, while cleaning an infant’s room, a cleaner might detect that the temperature is too high. It could then communicate automatically with the central air conditioning system to lower the temperature. By using built-in cameras, vacuums could also detect and remove obstacles on the ground that might present hazards to the elderly. 

Jess Chen, Senior Business Development Manager, AVS

In the course of his two decade plus career, Jess has been involved in a variety of leadership roles in product management, sales and business development. He is passionate about bringing entirely new and reimagined experiences for customers. He enjoys playing golf in his spare time — a sport that he describes as being capable of providing both frustration and immense fulfillment. 

Why should device makers be excited about Alexa and voice?

Be it routers, watches, speakers, PCs, television sets, coffee machines, or cars, there a number of devices that we use on a day-to-day basis. Alexa offers the makers of these devices to breathe new life into these devices and change the way customers interact with their products. For example, millions of LG TV worldwide customers with compatible devices can use the push-to-talk feature on their microphone on their TV remotes to ask Alexa to change channels, the device volume, HDMI inputs, launch apps, and search for content — all by just using their voice.

I am also inspired by how makers of wearables use Alexa to provide a great experience at part of every step of the user journey: customers can now ask Alexa on their watch to start their run, check their heart rate, and even use connected home products to turn the light on with their voice when arriving home. Connectivity is another area where we are going to see a lot of innovation. Device makers can now turbocharge basic devices like Wi-Fi routers with Alexa Built-in to allow customers to listen to music, make calls, check their schedule, hear the news, control smart home devices, and do so much more.

Joey Qiu, Business Development, Alexa Connect Kit

As a business development professional for the Alexa Connect Kit (ACK), Qiu is focused on expanding the footprint of ACK solution in Smart Home domain. In his personal life, he is a fan of Friends, Harry Potter, and A Song of Ice and Fire. He also enjoys the outdoors and likes hiking and swimming. 

Why should device makers be excited about Alexa and voice?

There are two significant obstacles that come in the way of device makers being able to enable a world of ambient computing. The first is the heavy investment required in artificial intelligence to make these experiences possible. There are also obstacles in terms of develop- voice-forward experiences. By allowing devices makers to offer voice-forward experiences for their consumers by leveraging the state-of-the-art in conversational AI, Alexa solves both of these problems for device makers. ACK enables device makers to connect their devices to Alexa without worrying about managing cloud services, writing an Alexa Skill, or developing complex networking and security firmware. As a result, manufacturers and solution providers are freed up to focus on what they do best — build great devices that provide great experiences for their customers.

Mark Ding, Senior Solution Architect, Alexa Connect Kit

Working out of Amazon’s offices in Shenzhen China, Ding developed innovations for smart home products for the Amazon Basics brand including smart switches, dimmer switches, in-wall outlets, smart outdoor plugs, and color changing light bulbs.

Why should device makers be excited about Alexa and voice?

In shows like Star Trek, we have already seen a glimpse of the future: a world of ambient computing where humans and computers interact with each other in a natural way. At Amazon Alexa, we are all working together in making this future happen. For device makers, the Alexa Connect Kit (ACK), does away with the need to write an Alexa skill, manage a cloud service, or develop complex network and security firmware. Instead, all they have to do is integrate an ACK hardware module into their products, and enable ambient computing for their customers. 

Jess Chen, Tang Jing, Ting Zhang, Jane Chen, Roger Chen and Phillipe Guo

They are part of a team in China and Taiwan supporting Alexa Built-in Solution Providers in the region. They partner with devices makers, system integrators and chipset vendors to develop and launch Alexa Built-in devices that allow customers talk directly with Alexa through a microphone and speaker. 

Why should device makers be excited about Alexa and voice?

Our team works extensively with solution providers. We are constantly inspired by the innovative ways they develop Alexa Built-in products for uses in different applications, and multiple form factors across diverse sectors. Our solution providers enable many brands provide new experiences for millions of customers worldwide.

Lavazza coffee machine, Jabra wireless earpiece, Sony headsets, B&W smart speaker, Lenovo Smart Dock, boAt smart watch, Fastweb smart routers, Vodafone WiFi extenders are just a few examples of smart devices that allow customers to talk directly with Alexa through a microphone and speaker. 

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