Many of today’s most valuable tech companies — Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google, etc. — don’t make a big splash at the annual Consumer Electronics Show these days, and in some cases they don’t attend at all.
Amazon, on the other hand, is amping up its presence at the giant tech expo in Las Vegas that kicks off next week.
The Seattle-based company will be certainly noticeable at this year’s show, primarily via Alexa, its fast-growing voice technology platform that powers the company’s Echo devices.
It’s a continuation of the past two years at CES for Amazon. In 2016, as its Echo device and Alexa technology started to pick up momentum, Amazon made announcements with companies like Ford, HomeAdvisor, Whirlpool, and others who were integrating Alexa into their own products.
The same continued last year, when upwards of 1,000 new Alexa applications launched during CES, which expects more than 170,000 attendees from 150 countries this year.
“Voice is the new UI,” Dave Isbitski, chief evangelist for Alexa and Echo, said at the event last year. “At Amazon, we believe that there will be an Alexa skill for everyone, for everything.”
You can expect more of the same from Amazon this year at CES, where GeekWire will return once again to report on the latest technology announcements and gadgets. Amazon now has a large space on the show floor dedicated to Alexa; it also has a separate area across from space reserved for Google and its Google Assistant, a competitor to Alexa.
“At CES 2018, we have planned several panel and workshop sessions, as well as smart home and offline activations just outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center,” Amazon wrote in a blog post last month. “All of this in addition to exciting new announcements from brands building magical voice experiences with Alexa technology.”
In addition to Alexa, other Amazon teams will also be in Las Vegas, ranging from Amazon Web Services to Amazon Launchpad.
It’s interesting to watch Amazon’s strategy at CES, particularly compared to fellow Seattle tech giant Microsoft, which previously used the event to make announcements at big keynotes but has reduced its involvement over the past several years.
Amazon clearly sees value in being at CES, given that it’s where many manufacturers launch new products that can integrate with Alexa.
Amazon is trying to get its Alexa technology everywhere, from Amazon’s own devices to third-party products ranging from refrigerators to cars. In fact, the first Alexa-related presentation at CES this year is titled “Amazon’s Quest for Alexa to Be Everywhere.”
Here’s a rundown of all the Alexa presentations and workshops at CES:
January 10, 2018: Alexa Presentations
Amazon’s Quest for Alexa to Be Everywhere
9:00 a.m. PST at LVCC, North Hall, N262-N624
Building a Smarter Home with Alexa
10:15 a.m. PST at LVCC, North Hall, N262-N624
Enabling the Future of Automotive with Alexa
11:30 a.m. PST at LVCC, North Hall, N262-N624
The Art and Science of Alexa Conversation
1:00 p.m. PST at LVCC, North Hall, N262-N624
Integrate Alexa Voice Technology into Your Product
2:15 p.m. PST at LVCC, North Hall, N262-N624
Bringing Voice Play Experiences to Alexa-Connected Products
3:30 p.m. PST at the LVCC, North Hall, N262-N624
January 11, 2018: Alexa Workshops
Advanced Alexa Skill Building: Conversation and Memory
9:00 a.m. PST at the LVCC, North Hall, N262-N264
How to Build an Alexa Gadget!
11:30 a.m. PST at the LVCC, North Hall, N262-N264
Build a Far-Field Alexa-Enabled Product with Intel
2:00 p.m. PST at LVCC, North Hall, N262-N264
Amazon leaders like Miriam Daniels, director of product management for Amazon Echo, and Daniel Rausch, vice president of Amazon Smart Home, will be speaking on panels at CES this year.
Alexa isn’t the only smart voice assistant at CES. Google’s own Google Assistant will also be in the spotlight — “where there’s Alexa, there’s likely to be Google Assistant in the mix,” writes The Verge in its CES 2018 preview.
We’ll be closely tracking Amazon’s announcements and other related news at CES, so stay tuned for more coverage. This year, you can expect a peek into the future of 5G connectivity; augmented reality; wireless charging; self-driving cars; 8K TVs; wearables; and much more.
You learn more about the trends at CES on our Geared Up podcast this week.
GeekWire will also be checking in on a bevy of Pacific Northwest companies at CES this year, ranging from larger corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, RealNetworks, and T-Mobile, to smaller startups like Glowforge, Play Impossible, PicoBrew, and Sensoria.
And we’ll be sure to provide an inside look at the craziness of CES in Las Vegas, ranging from wacky marketing stunts to the late-night parties. Stay up-to-date with our latest coverage here, or follow our reports on Twitter at #GeekWireCES.