By Barb Paszyn and Mike Armson
In recent months, a few of our associates were able to experience the sensation of voice activation and AI when Amazon Canada launched an Alexa Smart Home Pop-Up Shop at the Toronto Eaton Centre. Visitors could take the opportunity to walk through a fully Alexa-integrated home and imagine how artificial intelligence could be implemented in their home today.
It was of particular interest to us as we were in the midst of analyzing data from the second wave of our AI tracker with Canadian consumers. Through our research, we found that 6 in 10 Canadians are comfortable with AI controlling their house utilities and appliances so, naturally, a few of us had to see exactly what consumers could experience in a home designed with AI in mind – an Alexa-integrated home. Come along with us on our AI journey…
Entering the AI Home
Upon arriving at the Alexa Smart Home, we did what any visitors would do – we rang the doorbell. But this wasn’t just any old doorbell. It played a custom chime and activated a system of cameras that allowed the homeowners to see who was at the door from any smart device. Safety first!
Upon entering the home, we stepped right into the Alexa smart kitchen. Using the tablet there, you could see who was at the door without having to worry about leaving a boiling pot or active deep fryer unattended. Safety first again! You could also conveniently look up recipes or ingredient substitutions for whatever mouth-watering meal you want to cook up.
Needless to say, the food in an Alexa Smart Home is kept in an Alexa smart fridge. We found that a large fridge door is the perfect way to incorporate a large touch screen in the kitchen. This touch screen serves as an effective central organization and communications hub where home owners can view their online calendars, pin up digital photos, check the weather, connect to social media, and much more. This is essential to any family, because according to our AI tracker, almost a third of Canadians feel that the most useful application of AI would be to manage their everyday tasks. This screen does just that!
More to the point though, a smart fridge allows the user to check the contents of the fridge without holding the door open for minutes at a time – you’re welcome, Dad! Indeed, the fridge contents can even be accessed remotely by using a smart phone. Never worry about making a list or trying to remember the last item on a forgotten list!
The Living Room
After finishing off a delicious meal in the smart kitchen, you might want to settle down on the couch to watch a movie – which is exactly what we did as our tour moved into the Alexa smart living room. With a few simple verbal commands, the smart TV screen changed from showing a decorative painting to displaying a fully integrated entertainment system. We were soon on Netflix watching one of our favourite series about the bond between dogs and their humans called, “Dogs.”
After the movie, we had to clean up a few kernels of popcorn that fell on the floor. We simply asked Alexa to “please clean up” and she promptly woke up the Roomba from its console so that it could travel around the floor cleaning up everything in its path. After another quick verbal command to Alexa, the Roomba returned home to its console and went back to sleep. Besides being an effective vacuum, it also makes for a cute pet (since it’s so small)!
Now that our Alexa Smart Home was nice and clean, it was time to for our friends to come over and party! After telling Alexa that we wanted to party, Alexa told us she had been “waiting all evening” to get her groove on. She then proceeded to turn on some coloured lights to create a fun mood in the room. She also turned down the thermostat a couple of degrees so we could bust a move comfortably. Our AI tracker found that almost three-quarters of Canadians are comfortable with AI regulating the temperature in their home so this is another great feature that Canadians will love!
Exhausted from our party, we moved into the Alexa smart bedroom. Alexa set the mood for a romantic evening with a loved one by turning on some red lighting under the bed. We could also choose from among numerous features to help us get a good night’s sleep. For example, we could use the smart tablet to play some white noise, our favourite music, or even listen to a bedtime story told through the Audible technology.
Leaving the AI Home
Before we left the AI home, we enjoyed a large nightscape image of Toronto, perhaps to remind us that we’re still in Toronto and not on a spaceship or in a dream. We all left quite impressed with the experience, and excited to share the progress of an AI-equipped home with our colleagues and fellow AI aficionados.
Artificial intelligence is an integral piece of the future, from making homes more engaging and efficient to improving customer communication. We all need to make understanding the purpose and possibilities of AI a priority. If you’re ready to continue your own AI adventure,click on this link to find out how marketers can incorporate AI to grow their brand.