Amazon’s Alexa can now tell microwaves how to cook

Amazon's Alexa will soon start controlling microwaves, smart ovens and refrigerators after the Jeff Bezos-led company said on Friday that it has added cooking capabilities to the smart voice assistant's interface.

This means that manufacturers such as Whirlpool will be able to integrate smart capabilities into their kitchen products.

Whirlpool has already created an Alexa skill through Amazon's Smart Home Skill toolkit that will enable its to-be-launched microwaves to take cooking instructions such as 'heat for 50 seconds' from the voice assistant.

GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG, and Samsung are also working on integrating Alexa's cooking capabilities into their smart ovens and appliances.

However, Alexa's smart abilities cannot used for existing ovens. Manufacturers have to create new ones that come with the AI ability in-built.

Alexa currently operates through Amazons' Echo and Echo Dot speakers and cooking requests will be made via these devices.

In a bid to strengthen Alexa's presence in the kitchen, Amazon has invested in a smart oven company called June Oven via its venture capital fund Alexa Fund.

Neither firm has shared details of the deal. June Oven had previously raised $9.5 million in funding, according to reports.

Amazon's investment in June Oven will see the company add Alexa commands to its connected ovens as soon as support is available.

Market share

According to a report from Emarketer released in May last year, Amazon dominates the voice-controlled speaker market. It has 70.6% of all voice-enabled speaker users in the US compared to 23.8% captured by Google Home.

Another report from VoiceLabs published in January last year also ranks Alexa as the leading voice AI in terms of market share.

Survey data from Edison Research released last June found that Amazon Alexa-enabled devices have 82% market share compared to just 18% for Google Home.

Google, Apple and Microsoft are yet to venture into the kitchen via artificial intelligence.

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