Most of us who are familiar or even remotely interested in IoT, the names of Google’s Brillo and Intel’s Edison platform is common place. Today, let me introduce a new contender in the consumer space of connected devices.

Amazon, the shopping cart of the entire Internet, has made its first step forward into the homes of the customers it has served so well over the past decade. Echo and Echo Dot are two connected Bluetooth speakers with a very unique twist. Residing within each of these speakers is Amazon’s Virtual AI, Alexa.

So what exactly makes Alexa so special?

Amazons IoT Efforts Through Alexa

So what can Alexa actually do? Well like most other virtual assistants of its kind, Alexa can do simple tasks such as set up alarms, play a song and order things from Amazon for you. But that’s not all.

Alexa can actually interact with a lot of other devices. Such as Phillips Hue lights and Belkin’s Wemo switches. And this is where Alexa’s IoT capabilities come to the fore.

While Amazon keeps adding different functionalities to increase Alexa’s usefulness, they have also released an SDK that allows developers to develop their own apps that can facilitate communication between IoT-enabled and the Alexa platform.

Alexa’s IoT Capabilities

While it sounds pretty cool to control your Hue lights, turn them on and off and make them switch colour just by calling upon Alexa, that doesn’t even begin to broach the true capabilities of this nifty little IoT Hub. Yes, that’s what Alexa really is, a hub for all your IoT devices to connect to!

So what devices can Alexa interact with? Pretty much any IoT module if the apps are written using Amazon’s SDK! In fact, if you click on this link, there’s a full working tutorial to make Alexa control a particle device like a Spark core.

Final Thoughts

Alexa's IoT capabilities

IoT is poised to take over machine to machine communication in a huge way in the coming years. And Amazon being the first major player to have a finished and polished product like Alexa, has gained a significant edge over their rivals.

As the central hub for all your IoT needs, Amazon’s Echo is perfect as it has the design and sleekness to blend in perfectly even in the middle of a living room. And with Alexa’s soothing voice and Amazon’s vast experience in the online retail space, there is no doubting Alexa’s IoT capabilities.

I just await the day when Alexa can play me my favourite song from Spotify and brew me a cup of coffee just as I wake up! The former has already turned into reality, and the latter can’t be too far off!

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