Amazon Echo devices are headed to Australia and New Zealand in February

Sensors provide a host of data from wearables to automobiles at the CES show in Las Vegas

Sensors provide a host of data from wearables to automobiles at the CES show in Las Vegas

There is no question that the Google Assistant is the smarter and more powerful, but Google executives will need to figure out how to get this artificial intelligence app in as many smart home devices as possible. "The combination of Alexa and Echo provides customers with hands-free access to music, weather, news, information, and more - just ask".

Following the launch of Amazon Australia late past year, Amazon has announced that its "Echo" suite of smart speakers is now available to purchase in Australia - a move set to intensify competition within the smart speaker market, and provide rival Google a run for its money.

Jonathan Davey, NAB's Executive General Manager Digital and Innovation, says the cloud-based voice service from Amazon brought another another dimension to banking.

"We're opening doors for our customers to have access to an incredible catalogue of music, and to be able to listen to some of their favourite artists while using the power of voice in exciting new ways".

On the entertainment front, Village Entertainment announced its own Alexa skill, developed in partnership with Versa, that allows a user to ask about movie times and location.

The company has sold more than 20 million Alexa-enabled devices to date, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, and nearly three times as many as Google.

Hey Google, did you enjoy taking over CES?

The telco worked with DiUS to build a skill for the platform.

Named Westpac Banking Skill, the project has seen the development of a range of functions such as account balance updates and announcements of recent transactions, while it also enables users to receive Westpac's finance industry news bulletins. Customers will also be able to manage a range of account services, Amaysim said.

AGL and EnergyAustralia are both releasing services for Alexa. Initially, customers can stay across the status of their bill and when it's due with a simple voice comment.

"We're constantly working to develop concepts and initiatives that will be helpful to our customers, and we rely heavily on data to inform all such initiatives", Village GM of marketing and sales, Mohit Bhargava, said.

Airtasker, Hipages and taste.com.au, Village Roadshow and Dominos are among the other companies to offer skills.


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