Have you ever found yourself talking to yourself out loud and thinking it would be nice if I didn’t need to then dig out the laptop to do what you just said? Weirdly I have.
Now, take this concept one stage further and make it useful. Say for example “I wonder how much it would be to fly to London this weekend?”
Well, worry not weary travellers the solution is now here. I welcome you to Amazon Echo – now with Skyscanner integration. I use Skyscanner a lot, in fact, it is my defacto choice whenever I need to find a flight these days. The busy bods at Skyscanner have been working very hard with the devs at Amazon and now they have integrated the API’s for Amazon Echo into their brilliant apps.
What this means is that instead of just talking to yourself like a mad person, you can ask Amazon Echo to go and find your flights for you. It will not only find your flights, but it will allow you to converse with Echo to find the best flight for you.
Here is what David Low, Developer Advocate and Engineer at Skyscanner, has to say..
Voice integration is an important feature for the travel industry and the digital world in general. Conversational integration is appearing in everything from wearables to cars to mobile apps, reinforcing that conversation and messaging are fast becoming mainstream. We expect voice products to be a major driver for this mainstream adoption.
Now whilst it is not quite available for a full rollout to retail units, this is a massive push in the right direction and it shows that our tech is starting to become slightly more cognitive. I have not been able to test this system in full yet, but I am soon to have the opportunity as I have been invited to test the system out with Skyscanner in the near future.
For those of you who have not seen Amazon Echo in action (it is only out in the US right now), then it is not just a way of searching your flights. It will allow you to play music and also provide other useful information, just by saying for example …
“Alexa play Daft Punk Legacy soundtrack”
“Alexa what is the weather like this morning in Glasgow”
..invariably the answer will be “It’s raining” on that last one. We are in Scotland after all.
This is a great idea and I can see it being very useful during the morning rush to get out of the door in the morning. Get more information on Amazon Echo here or watch this demo of the Skyscanner App working with Echo..
Coming back to where we started though, it seems the days of home/office technology being dormant and “dumb” are coming to an end. We are finally on the tipping point of a new augmented reality assistant that properly works. Soon we will have all our worldly cares and whims being catered for by virtual assistants, both in our homes and from our pockets via our connected devices.
Is that a good future? Well I will leave you to decide, but I am all for it. Bring it on.
Now, to find my jetpack..
“Alexa where did I put my jetpack last night?”