It has been four years the Amazon Alexa has been in India. It has also been an eventful journey so far as well, with millions of customers from the country availing of the service. For Alexa too, it must be an interesting journey as it got to learn new language skills in the process. Most interacted in English and Hindi while there has been a fair dose of what can be referred to as the Hinglish language. The interacting medium ranged from devices as diverse as the Echo range of smart speakers to Fire TV, the Amazon shopping app on Android along with other devices that come integrated with the Alexa smart assistant.
There has also been a 68 percent increase in the number of requests to Alexa in 2021 compared to the previous year, with 50 percent of those coming from non-metro cities. Puneesh Kumar, Country Leader for Alexa, Amazon India said they are constantly working to make the Alexa experience better and more fulfilling for its customers in India. He also attributed the rising interest in Alexa among Indians to the launch of smart new gadgets such as the Echo Show 10 with intelligent motion. The launch of the celebrity voice of Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan too acted as an impetus in increasing Alexa’s appeal, as did the recently launched Mahindra XUV700 which comes integrated with Alexa.
Lucrative deals on Alexa devices
To celebrate four years of Alexa in India, the company is offering up to 50 percent discount on the Echo range of smart speakers and displays and up to 43 percent discount on Fire TV devices. Similarly, smart home gadgets and devices that have Alexa built-in such as those from OnePlus, boAt, Wipro, Panasonic, Xiaomi to name a few come with a discount of up to 30 percent.
The above deals are going to be valid for 48 hours starting 12 AM on 15th February 2022 till 11:59 PM on 16th February 2022.
Most popular requests Alexa received in 2021
Amazon also revealed stats of how much Alexa has been to the service of its customers in India throughout 2021. People reached out to the voice assistant several times a day and interacted with it primarily in English, Hindi, and Hinglish. There have been requests to play an average of 21.6 lakh songs every day, with genres ranging from devotional and kids’ songs to everything in between.
The Alexa smart home selection increased by 72 percent year-over-year thanks to the launch of smart home gadgets from brands such as OnePlus, Xiaomi, Hindware and Atomberg, and so on. This led to there being 2.6 lakh requests to control smart home devices on a daily basis.
Further, there have been 1.7 Lakh questions that Alexa dealt with every day in 2021. Questions ranged from the relatively simple weather, stock market, and sports updates to offer word definitions, movie dialogs to solving complex math problems, the Amazon smart assistant made it through all of it.
The months from March to April 2021 have been particularly busy for Alexa. It was when the pandemic was at its peak and customers asked an average of 11,500 questions every day related to the coronavirus, its health implications as well as ways to prevent the same and such.
Lastly, those who start and end the day with Alexa are also sizeable. It’s an average of 11,520 customers who wished Alexa good morning and good night every day.
New things Alexa learned in 2021
It has also been a busy year for the smart digital assistant so far as picking up new skills is concerned. That includes conversing with its Indian customers in English and Hindi or a combination of both, something that has come to be known as Hinglish. To make matters even more intricate, it had to develop an understanding of the various Indian dialects and accents. To help ease things here, it adopted the neural speech recognition technology in 2021 which enabled it to pick up Indian accents more accurately so that Automatic Speech Recognition errors were reduced by 25 percent.
Similarly, the team behind Alexa also tweaked the algorithm that serviced customer requests to make them more accurate in English and Hindi as well as a mix of both. This again led to a 27 percent improvement in Alexa’s Natural Language Understanding abilities. Plus, Alexa was made aware of thousands of new words in Hindi. Thereafter, machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques were employed to make Alexa aware of the different ways such words can be used, or the various ways customers can ask similar questions.
Highlights of Alexa experience in 2021
Amazon launched a new range of Alexa enabled devices in 2021. Those included All-New Echo Show 10, Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen), Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen), Fire TV Cube, and Fire TV Stick 4K Max with Alexa Voice Remote. Apart from these, companies like Xiaomi, OnePlus, boAt, Zebronics, and Noise launched Alexa built-in smartphones, smartwatches, speakers, and more. As already mentioned, the newest Mahindra SUV, the XUV700 too features Alexa digital assistant.
Another high Alexa reached in 2021 is the introduction of Amitabh Bachchan’s voice. This made it seem like Alexa users were directly interacting with the superstar himself and were able to ask such things as reciting select poems by his father or reading out iconic dialogs from his films and so on. Customers were also able to ask for interesting stories from his life or ask fun questions like ‘Amit ji, Kitne aadmi the’, to name a few.