Alexa turns 4: this is what Italians are asking for Amazon’s voice assistant

The alarm clock, timers, reminders, weather forecast and recipes. And then, the music. It seems like a lot more than four years have passed since then Alexathe virtual assistant of Amazon, has entered our homes and, consequently, our lives. In 2018, when the e-commerce company equipped its devices with voice recognition in Italy, there were already other virtual assistants, such as Google i apple, but Alexa was the one that marked the explosion of the phenomenon in our country. Shortly before its arrival, it seemed very strange to us that we could talk to a device without feeling embarrassed. But we have also overcome this barrier and today turning to Alexa is part of our everyday life.

In 2022, the Italians have used the voice assistant to set it up 800 million between alarm clocks and timerswell 120 million reminders i 45 million shopping lists, and made 28 million calls using Alexa. Also, they asked Alexa 135 million times for weather forecasts, and 8 million times he was asked for recipes (carbonara, crepes and tiramisu stand out among the most popular). Not forgetting the music, of which 400 million hours have been played, with the hits of San Remo Festival at the top of the list of most requested songs: “Butterflies” by Saint John“Where we dance” from Dargen D’Amico and “Shivering” from Mahmood and Blanco they are the first three.

The data released by Amazon on the occasion of Alexa’s birthday, celebrated yesterday with a party at the Palazzina Appiani in Milan (those who want to join in the celebrations can tell Assistant “Alexa, happy birthday”, and they’ll get 3 free months of Audible, Amazon’s platform for podcasts and audiobooks), explain the penetration rate well of the device of Jeff Bezos in our country: if Lombardy and the province of Rome register the highest number of interactions with the voice assistant, the places that have had the greatest growth this year are much less obvious places, such as the region of Molise (+56 %) and the province of Agrigento (+63%). “The fact that Amazon offers a wide range of connected devices, up to 17, undoubtedly influences it”, explains Gianmaria Visconti, Country Manager of Amazon Alexa in Italy, “and that the price of these devices is decidedly affordable. Echo Dot (the small speaker with integrated Alexa, which is available on Amazon for 25 euros, ed.), is the best-selling speaker in Italy».

In fact, it is part of company policy Seattle that of making its devices highly competitive in the market: it is obvious that Amazon aims not so much to sell hardware, but to offer services and create a kind of ecosystem that includes e-commerce, entertainment (from Prime Videos a Primitive Musiccrossing audible) and home automation. For the latter, which has experienced significant growth in Italy (this year there have been more than 1.8 billion interactions between smart devices and Alexa), Amazon’s voice assistant will be integrated into the unique Matter protocol , which aims to make all connected devices in the house interact perfectly with each other, from light bulbs to air conditioners.

It is also clear that the voice assistant was also a way to involve those segments of the population, especially the elderly, less familiar with technology. However, this does not erase the most thorny question, that is, the use that is made of the information that Alexa collects in our daily routine 24 hours a day. Visconti explains that the data that is analyzed “is related, for example, to Alexa’s unanswered requests. When the assistant does not understand a request or receives a wrong answer, this data is analyzed by the algorithm to try to solve the problem». And what about the profile? If it is true that Amazon does not associate personal data (name, gender, age) with our requests, the assistant still analyzes our habits to enrich us and offer increasingly personalized services, as every algorithm does. So much so that one of Amazon’s goals is to increasingly spread the “routine” system, that is, a series of personalized commands that are automatically activated at certain times of the day or with a certain keyword (a example: you can set that when you say “Alexa, good night” the lights in the house turn off, the blinds close automatically, and relaxing music plays).

And Alexa knows a lot of habits: “Of these first 4 years, 2022 was the most exciting in terms of growth,” Visconti continues, “just think that of the more than 17 billion interactions made with Alexa since 2018 until today, up to 8,000 million. they have occurred only this year”.

Source : IL Messaggero

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