Australian operator Telstra has announced that, starting in February, it will be supporting Amazon’s voice-activated assistant Alexa on the Amazon Echo devices, and that it will integrate with Telstra Smart Home by the end of February. Alexa will be customized for the Australian market, connected to specifically Australian content sources, and with the virtual assistant provided with an Australian accent for her advent into that country’s market.
Australian customers will be able to ask Alexa to check the weather, traffic and sports scores, as well as to play music and set music alarms and timers. In addition to these functions, Telstra’s integration will allow Telstra Smart Home customers more opportunities to set up in-home automations and control their Telstra Smart Home compatible lights, smart plugs, and Zen thermostat, all through the Alexa service.
Australian customers will be able to purchase Amazon Echo (2nd generation) and Amazon Echo Dot (2nd generation) from Telstra stores and online starting in early February, with the Telstra Smart Home integration and a new bundle coming soon after.
Alexa is finally arriving in Australia, and Telstra is getting ahead of the game not only by moving quickly to support the service but by integrating its smart home offering with it. IoT technologies, which are growing exponentially worldwide, have provided huge opportunities for industry but also for consumers, in particular smart home systems. Forward-looking operators have identified these systems as an opportunity to provide value-added services that go well beyond traditional mobile and fixed offerings and help these operators achieve relevance in the changing marketplace.
Creating a proprietary smart home system instead of merely providing the data to drive a third-party system is a proactive approach for an operator such as Telstra to take. And now, integrating such a system with the Alexa assistant seems like the appropriate next step—and one that will furnish a great deal of seamless functionality.
Partnering with Amazon to make it possible for Telstra subscribers to control their Telstra Smart Home systems via Alexa makes a great deal of sense and will not only drive revenue to the operator (via data use as well as increased uptake of Telstra Smart Home systems) but also enhance its brand by association with Amazon’s very popular and long-awaited Alexa.