On Monday, the Microsoft Skype blog announced that Skype calling is now available on Amazon Alexa devices using a simple voice command and that Alexa customers can now call most landlines and mobiles internationally using Skype, as well as benefitting from 200 free minutes of Skype to call 34 countries.
Can Already Make Calls
Many Amazon Echo / Echo Plus and Echo Dot users may already be used to making calls via their Echo. Last year, Alexa-to-Alexa calls from compatible devices were enabled e.g. calling another Echo from your Echo by saying “Call (John’s) Echo”. Also, Echo Connect combined with a user’s landline or VoIP service has enabled compatible Echo devices to call any number supported by a user’s home phone service provider e.g. contacts by name, specific mobile numbers, and by saying the individual digits of a full phone number.
How To Set Up Skype Calls On Your Alexa Device
Amazon Echo users can set up Skype calling by :
– Opening the Amazon Alexa app (the same one used to set up the Echo in the first place)
– Going to ‘Settings > Communication > Skype’
– Signing-in using the same account used for Skype
How To Make A Call Via Skype
According to the Microsoft Skype blog, once Skype has been set up on the Amazon Echo, (using an example) making a completely hands-free call should be simply a case of saying, “Alexa, call Mum on Skype.”
The new Skype call service via the Echo is being rolled out in the U.S, U.K., Ireland, Canada, India, Australia, and New Zealand. The addition of the new feature is also being supported by a price drop in the Echo.
Video Calls With Echo Show / Spot Display-Based
The hook up with Skype also means that although speaker-only Echo devices can only make audio Skype calls, an Echo Show or Echo Spot display-based device should be able to make video calls using Skype.
It should also now be possible to make Skype calls via the Echo to other Skype-enabled devices e.g. PCs, smartphones, or even an Xbox One console. SkypeOut also means that calls can be made to mobile and landline numbers.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Amazon is already the market leader (41% market share) of global smart speaker shipments, ahead of Google at 28% (Strategy Analytics data). There is fierce competition in the huge and growing smart speaker market e.g. one-quarter to one-third of the U.S. population already owns a smart speaker, and the global number of installed smart speakers may more than double to 225 million units in two years (Canalys). Amazon is trying to make its smart speakers as ubiquitous as possible e.g. at home, at work and in the car, and adding feature like this may make it even more attractive to customers, particularly at the season where sales are likely to be high, and where sales are already being supported by a price drop for Echo devices. More sales of Amazon Echo devices could also mean that voice shopping on Alexa could potentially generate more $5 billion+ per year in revenue by 2020.
For users of Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker devices, the promise of easy, hands-free Skype calls could be another value-adding feature to tempt them to buy an Amazon smart speaker instead of others such as Sonos, or Google Home.