Adoption of voice-first assistants such Amazon’s Echo to skyrocket

Amazon’s voice-first assistant technology could be worth billions for the e-tailer in just a few years, says an investment bank quoted by Fox News last week. RBC Capital Markets says Alexa could trigger $10 billion in revenue for Amazon by 2020.

This startling prediction comes alongside recent speculation that Alexa will be incorporated into smartphones sometime in 2017. That wrapping-in (if it were to include the voice element, rather than simply account management) would be part of a major second-generation update. It also means Amazon will compete with native telephony-supplied AI voice products such as Siri.

+ Also on Network World: The ultimate upgrade to Amazon’s Alexa +

There is also speculation that Amazon will get into the voice calling business outright, creating a kind of global intercom for users through Alexa in the same update. It could take the guise of an always-on phone link, writes Jason Del Ray in a Recode article.

Those kinds of moves, with those kinds of revenue numbers, could significantly disrupt traditional telco and do it perhaps more severely than the mobile network-oriented messaging apps, such as WhatsApp has done to SMS. You mightn’t need the mobile network at all if there were enough Wi-Fi-driven Alexa devices around, for example.

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