Amazon’s smart Echo speaker is spurring company hiring and a growing presence — in Cambridge, Mass.
Amazon has announced on LinkedIn that it’s holding an “Amazon Echo Software Engineering Interview Event” in the city abutting Boston on May 14, for “roles (that) span the gamut of distributed systems, speech/voice recognition, and big data.” And if that weren’t clear enough, ideal qualifications state that, “experience with Machine Learning Technologies, Speech – ASR and NLU are a plus.”
In addition, Echo staff presence in Amazon’s two-year-old Kendall Square offices appears to be on the rise.
The Boston Business Journal reports that one source has told it that an entire floor in the Kendall Square building is “dedicated to teams working on the Echo.” Earlier reports indicate that Amazon has enough room for 800 employees on its six leased floors in the building at 101 Main Street after expanding its footprint a year ago. Cambridge is a popular hub for tech companies, due to its proximity to MIT and Harvard.
Amazon Echo — a voice-activated, voice-response intelligent WiFi device that doubles as a tall Bluetooth speaker — has been rapidly adding features and customers. Since its introduction last November, new functionality has been coming fast and furious: sports scores, real-time traffic routing, smart home controls, streaming music service control, and light pop culture banter. It even functions as a decent radio program guest.
However, Amazon is still throttling delivery of the Echo by continuing to make it available by invitation only (which can be requested). The Echo’s price remains $199, though Amazon Prime members receive a $50 discount to $149 (up from a one-time low price of $99 in a long-time deal that ended early this month).