"Alexa's multiple smart home integrations, Google's partnership with Nest and Apple's HomeKit initiatives will continue to excite consumers of the smart speaker and fuel sales in 2018". They'll be among the first to use the new Smart Home Skill API's support for ovens, though it's worth noting that those talents won't be in the API initially.
Could Alexa be the next big thing in 2018? According to CNBC, the online retail giant has been in talks with several companies to turn Alexa into a digital advertising machine.
Beyond that, Amazon plans to expand the API to support conventional ovens and other cooking devices.
Unfortunately Amazon only sells the Basic Edition of its Fire TV in Australia and we miss out on U.S. models which pack more grunt, support faster Wi-Fi, handle Ultra HD streaming and work with Amazon's talkative Alexa smart assistant. 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.
Meanwhile, Amazon also announced that its venture capital arm, Alexa Fund, has invested in June Life, makers of the June Intelligent Oven. That will allow for commands like "Alexa, microwave for two minutes on high", "Alexa, cook a frozen pizza", or "Alexa, defrost a pound of steak", and have the settings and times adjusted automatically.
GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG and Samsung are also working on bringing AI controls to their appliances. Whilst Amazon has a variety of vendor partners, it's not certain how rapidly support will roll out.
Whirlpool has already created an Alexa skill through Amazon's Smart Home Skill toolkit that will enable its to-be-launched microwaves to take cooking instructions such as "heat for 50 seconds" from the voice assistant.
It sounds like a useful area for Amazon to expand Alexa's reach, since people often have their hands full while cooking and appliances' interfaces are often pretty cramped and confusing. The tools are available from Amazon for developers now, but we'll still have to wait a while to see compatible appliances.