Q: Hi UIB. What are the differences between Alexa and UE in relation to Smart Homes?
– M.K. in Riyadh, KSA
Great question! Thank you for asking it.
While these two cloud-based services may look similar, there are some important differences between them. The critical difference for manufacturers of smart devices (and authorities in smart cities) is who owns the massive amounts of data generated by human-to-machine (H2M) communications — this includes data from conversational customer service, conversational commerce, and conversational analytics. Here’s a rundown of all the differences:
Unified Inbox UnificationEngine™ (UE) vs. Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS)
- UIB (http://unifiedinbox.com) is an intelligent IoT messaging platform company.
- Amazon (http://amazon.com) is an ecommerce platform company.
- UIB created UE (http://unificationengine.com) to make it as easy for people to chat with their connected products as it is to chat with their friends.
- Amazon created AVS (http://developer.amazon.com/alexa-voice-service) to add intelligence and voice control to connected products.
- Messaging-based UE listens ONLY when you talk to it, protecting your privacy.
- Audio-based AVS listens to everyone (including children!) and everything within the range of its microphone, 24x7x365.
- UE enables people to talk to compatible smart devices by voice and text messaging.
- AVS enables people to talk to compatible smart devices by voice.
- Smart devices must be UE-ready (i.e., have a UE connector). No additional hardware or app is required.
- Smart devices must be AVS-ready (i.e., have an AVS connector). Smart devices must have a microphone and a speaker. Users can also purchase external hardware, such as the US$100+ Amazon Echo smart speaker or use the Alexa mobile app (use of mobile app requires Amazon Echo purchase).
- The customer (i.e. connected product manufacturers or smart city authorities) retains ownership of all data. Only the customer decides who can access data and where it is stored.
- Amazon retains ownership of all data collected. Only Amazon decides who can access data and where it is stored.
Real-Life Example: How Do UE and AVS Control Your Air Conditioner?
With UE, you can use natural language voice and text messaging to talk with your UE-ready air conditioner from anywhere in the world on over 20+ messaging channels. You can ask the status, change the temperature of your air conditioner, or turn it on/off from anywhere you have internet or cellular connectivity.
With AVS, you can use your voice to talk with your AVS-ready air conditioner within voice-range of its microphone. If you’re using an Amazon Echo, Plus, Dot, Spot, Tap, or Voice Remote, you will need to be close enough for it to hear you. Amazon AVS users typically have an Echo device in every room they want to use it.
Try UE for Yourself
We created a live, interactive demo to let everyone try out UE. Try it for yourself now at http://demo.unifiedinbox.com.
And if you have an IoT or AI question you’d like for us to answer, please email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may answer it in a future blog post!
Top-ranked Postscapes, Global Data, Digital Scouting, and Onalytica global IoT leader Ken Herron is the CMO of intelligent IoT messaging company UIB (www.unifiedinbox.com). Follow Ken on Twitter at @KenHerron.