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Increasing Overhead

One of the challenges in adding AVS or Google Assistant to a hardware device is ensuring future functionality when updates are made and new features are offered. To Amazon and Google, they need to ensure a consistent user experience among different devices.

However, some of the features that are being pushed may require more local resources to run. For example, VOIP calling and video streaming, or synchronizing audio between multiple devices. In addition, some features may require specialized hardware for processing. New local trigger software might also require more and more resources to run new models better.

So what’s a hardware maker to do?

First, one key requirement is OTA updates. A device will be unfixable if there isn’t a mechanism to push updates to the field and fix issues once in orbit.

Second, carve out resources for future expansion. This might be painful for a company looking to reduce BOM costs but is needed to ensure compliance with future requirements.

Third, push back! Devices makers have power to influence Amazon and Google and should make it clear what they can and won’t tolerate when it comes to hardware requirements and future compatibility.

For some devices, like low cost portable music players, this might not be a big deal — consumers will likely replace them after a few years. However, this has big consequences for those making devices that embed into things for a long time.

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