World Cup. World Cup. World Cup. World Cup. It's fair to say that we've well and truly caught the football (never soccer) bug at Ambient HQ - even if it's much harder than it really should be to watch the matches in 4K.
But we're not the only ones getting all excited about the action over in Russia. Read on for a round up of the week's smart home news...
Alexa's got footie skills
Alexa has been brushing up on its football knowledge ahead of the World Cup and is now on hand to help you make your way through the tournament.
If you say, "Alexa, how do I bluff my way through the World Cup" then you'll get a nice roundup of what's happened the day before and what's coming up, and you can also ask more general questions such as...
- "Alexa, what is 'parking the bus' in football?"
- "Alexa, what is a 'false nine' in football?"
- "Alexa, what is 'putting it in the mixer' in football?"
- "Alexa, what is 'Row Z' in football?"
- "Alexa, why do international footballers win 'caps'?"
- "Alexa, what country has won the most World Cups?"
- "Alexa, what group is Panama in for the World Cup?"
- "Alexa, when do England play next in the World Cup?"
- "Alexa, who scored for France?"
- "Alexa, when do Senegal play next in the World Cup?"
- "Alexa, what's the score of the Uruguay game?"
It's all a bit 'American' (sorry US readers) for our liking. For example, Alexa told us that "Russia won five to zero", which is a big no-no. Still, it's a nice touch (for a big man) from Amazon.
Sharing your skills
Sticking with Amazon's digital assistant and it's now easier than ever to build and share your own personal skills.
The Blueprints feature that went live in April, which lets people tap into free online templates to create custom Alexa responses or personalised skills "within minutes" - has now been made more shareable.
You can choose to share your skill using email, text, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Recipients will be able to enable the skill for use on their own account.
Smart cities on the rise
The reach of smart home devices and services will increasingly extend their influence outside of the traditional homes and into wider smart city programs. That's the word from ABI research, who state that by 2022, a global install base of nearly 300 million smart homes will mean 80 million homes with smart thermostats linked to smart grid control.
‚ÄúSo far, smart city programs have been dominated by broad, large-scale implementations. Increasingly, either these projects will expand to embrace smart home partners, or they will see some of the primary applications encroached upon by progressive smart home providers,‚ÄĚ said Jonathan Collins, research director at ABI Research.
All4 is all for Google Assistant
The UK's Channel 4 has announced that All4 viewers can now ask Google Assistant to play content through Chromecast-enabled devices; the first time a UK on-demand TV service has become integrated with Google's digital assistant.
Carl Pfeiffer, head of Distribution and Platform Partnerships, Channel 4 said: ‚ÄúWe have a great track record in partnering with platforms on new innovations, so we‚Äôre really excited to be able to launch our first major voice integration with Google, enabling viewers to watch Channel 4 shows quickly on their big screens at home.‚ÄĚ