If finding your lost keys sometimes becomes a group effort, Bellevue-Wash.-based Pebblebee wants to make the group even bigger. The company has just released an update to the app for its Finder tracking device that enlists Amazon’s Alexa in the hunt for missing items.
Pebblebee co-founders Daniel Daoura and Nick Pearson-Franks, the former Boeing engineers who found great success with Kickstarter campaigns for various iterations of their trackers, are just the latest hardware developers to turn to Alexa and utilize her voice-activated intelligence.
“Alexa, ask Pebblebee to buzz my keys,” Daoura said to an Amazon Echo during a recent visit to GeekWire offices.
“Buzzing your device,” Alexa replied as Daoura’s Finder, attached to his keychain, began to chirp on the table nearby.
Pebblebee, which has its sights set on connecting all sorts of different things with its built-in tracking technology, can envision numerous items around a house that users would want to track down — backpacks, kid toys, sneakers, water bottles, you name it.
So rather than launch the app on a phone and scroll through a list of items that you’re trying to find, Pearson-Franks said the natural progression in development was to just turn to Alexa.
“Now everyone has to unlock their phone and you have to open an app and you have to do these things,” Pearson-Franks said. “It really is a lot more convenient to use Alexa to say, ‘Find my keys.'”
Amazon and Alexa made a big showing at CES in Las Vegas earlier this month when the talk of the giant electronics show was all the various devices that are integrating the artificial intelligence. Amazon said there are now more than 7,000 Alexa skills — the third-party integrations that extend the capabilities of its voice platform.
Pebblebee, whose mission has always been about saving people time, says that 200,000 users rely on Finder and the app. Daoura anticipates that the addition of the skill will pique the interest (and hopefully propel sales) among even more people who already own an Alexa device.
The update to the app is only available in iOS at this time, and Daoura said an Android update would be coming soon.