We’ve come across a number of companies that are looking to use ambient voice interactive devices in ways that weren’t prescribed by the devices’ makers. In the end, the prototypes would have looked like Frankensteins that would never pass the approval of Amazon or Google. This is lie to quite a bit of frustration among device makers that want hardware makers to adopt their services and the hardware makers look into create unique products.
One of the things that we haven’t seen with either the Amazon Echo or Google home is the ability to set up different modes of operation. For example, you can imagine a mode of these devices specifically for hospitality, child interaction, elderly care, office, or other specific situations. While being able to set up such modes might end up affecting the consistency of the interaction and the perception of Alexa or Google Assistant, it could expand the reach of these devices into new settings.
Another technical hurdle that needs to be overcome is the ability to provision devices in various modes easily. For example, Apple provides this capability for companies looking to employ the iPad in different settings. Amazon and Google would need to do the same for their devices to allow this. The result would be these devices being used in retail drama lodging, medical, or other situations. We’ll probably see this in the next few years as part of AWS or Google App Engine.