How NAB and Westpac infiltrated Amazon's Alexa launch in Australia

18 January, 2018, 14:31 | Author: Bertha Harmon
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At the tail end of 2017, Amazon announced that both its unlimited music service and Echo speaker would head to 28 more countries.

The Echo has been available in the United States for years - well before Google entered the market - but this is the first time the gadget has been officially sold in Australia via Amazon's freshly-launched Aussie website.

Amazon has revealed it is tailoring the speakers to its Kiwi market with specific skills added to its regular functions, including learning New Zealand sports teams, giving news from local media organisations, and even speaking a bit of Te Reo Maori.

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Local services marketplace, Airtasker, joined a handful of Australian brands launching skills for Alexa today, and said users can use their voice to post and allocate tasks such as cleaning or gardening.

The Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus will be available for preorder at early bird prices on amazon.com.au as of Thursday, and the devices will begin shipping in early February, according to Amazon. Through the Alexa App you can create groups with two or more Echo devices by naming the group - something like "downstairs" or "next door" (nah just kidding about that one don't worry).

The service, which will compete with industry heavyweights Spotify and Apple Music, will launch in Australia and New Zealand launch on Thursday, 1st February, with a free 90-day trial available for a limited time. The hipages - Find a tradie "Skill" will connect consumers with local, professional tradies, through simple voice command with Amazon Alexa.

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Amazon also confirmed Qantas, NAB and Westpac had launched localised skills for Alexa, checking travel details and loyalty points, or account balances, respectively.

George Frazis, Chief Executive, Consumer Bank at Westpac, said: "We know our customers want a seamless banking experience that fits with their needs and complements their lifestyles".

Amazon launched in Australia last month after much anticipation. "The hipages skill for Alexa brings a new and helpful capability for Alexa customers in Australia", said Rob Pulciani, Director, Amazon Alexa. The smart speakers also claim to give provide users with the ability to make and take calls, plus receive and send text message.

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