If you have ever been in a room or house with more than one Alexa device, you will recognize the problem. You utter the name “Alexa” and multiple devices respond. This wasn’t an issue when people thought you would just have one device for the kitchen or living room. However, as people have added devices to bedrooms and other locations, the microphone sensitivity has become an issue.
I can wake up the Echo from my second-floor daughter’s room when I am speaking in our first-floor den. In one sense, that’s quite a feat of engineering. The problem arises when multiple devices respond at once. Alexa needed a way to respond once to a single command.
Just in Time for The Dot Invasion
Amazon has clearly been working on this and had a plan to address it before announcing their new Echo Dot strategy. Last month, Amazon started promoting six and twelve packs of the new sub $50 Echo Dots with the recommendation that people add them to multiple rooms so Alexa is always nearby when you need an alarm, music or information. They even throw in a Dot or two for free when you buy in bulk.
According to TechCrunch, Amazon started rolling out the spatial perception feature yesterday. This is just in time for the new Echo Dot shipments scheduled for mid-October which will introduce most homes to the multiple Alexa device environment for the first time. The timing was important as Google Home is scheduled to ship its first units in early November and suggests that this feature will be available from launch.
I look forward to putting spatial perception to the test in the coming weeks. Let me know if your experience confirms that it meets expectations.