Welcoming Amazon Echo to the Telstra Smart Home family

Welcoming Amazon Echo to the Telstra Smart Home family

While the rollout might be good for Australians and New Zealanders who want Echoes for themselves, it'll be harder for Amazon to wean them off other music streaming services, like Spotify, which has been available in Australia since 2012.

The Echo has been available in the USA for years - well before Google entered the market - but this is the first time the gadget has been officially sold in Australia via Amazon's freshly-launched Aussie website. Amazon says the Echo has been fine-tuned to deliver "crisp vocals with dynamic bass response".

The entire Echo range will also be carried through retailers JB Hi-Fi, Telstra, Myer and Officeworks.

Find out more about Telstra Smart Home®.

Third-party developers can enhance the system's abilities through the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK).

Major Australian companies supporting the platform include Qantas, NAB, Westpac, EnergyAustralia and AGL.

For example, if you bank with the NAB or Westpac, Alexa can check your bank balance for you. Customers will also be able to obtain a financial market update.

"This is a continuation of the commitment we have to invest in technology solutions that will connect Australians to the most up to date employment market and job information, to enable them to make informed career decisions".

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Another group of high-level lawmakers has also started talks aimed at brokering an immigration deal, adding an additional level of uncertainty.

"Amazon Alexa provides the magic of hands-free voice control to let customers to do more in life while being helpful, useful and entertaining, and now ordering Domino's is one of those things". It has some competition from Google, with the Google Assistant-powered Home launching in Australia previous year.

Just select Finance News from Westpac via the Alexa app and then ask, "Alexa, what's the news?" The skill was developed in partnership with tech services provider, DiUS.

"Conversational interfaces will become ubiquitous in Australian homes within the next two to years", said Amaysim innovation product manager Tariq Hassanen. "We are planning to work together with our customers to shape future conversations using Alexa".

SEEK MD of ANZ Michael Ilczynski says, "Voice is without a doubt the next big technology trend".

The online employment service said it had launched a trio of skills for Alexa.

EnergyAustralia was one of the energy utilities providers to jump on the Alexa bandwagon locally, and announced a skill for customers to check and manage their electricity and gas accounts.

"Initially customers can stay across the status of their bill and when it's due with a simple voice command". Using the REA skill, consumers can access curated content from more than 1200 articles published monthly on the realestate.com.au website by 45 journalists across the country.

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