Alexa Announcements lets you broadcast a message to all of your Echo devices

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Amazon Echo review

Amazon’s Echo devices are getting a nifty new feature today.

Amazon has revealed Alexa Announcements, a new feature that lets you send a voice message to every Echo in your house at the same time. To make an announcement, just say “Alexa, announce that…” or “Alexa, tell everyone…” or “Alexa, broadcast…”.

The feature is supported on the Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Spot, and Echo Look. It’s rolling out to devices in the U.S. and Canada beginning today.

This is different than the two-way intercom feature that Amazon previously rolled out to the Echo and is intended for quick messages that you want everyone to hear. For example, you could announce that dinner is ready or that you’ll be leaving for the mall in five minutes, all without having to go from room to room and saying the same thing to all of your family members.

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Alexa Announcements one-way voice feature rolling out to Echo devices

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Amazon is rolling out a feature today that lets users broadcast messages to connected Echo devices. The company is calling it Alexa Announcements, and the functionality is very similar to the broadcast feature Google Home has had since late last year.

Telling an Echo “announce,” “broadcast” or “tell everyone” something will make all connected devices on the account relay the message. “Millions of customers already have more than one Echo device in their home,” Amazon says, and given that Echo devices have have been able to function as two-way intercoms and make phone calls since last year, this feature seems like a logical step.

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Amazon adds long awaited intercom feature to its Alexa-enabled devices

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While Apple’ Siri digital assistant is still pretty limited in its functionality, despite it being the main input for HomePod, Amazon has been experimenting and adding new features at a rapid pace.

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One-third of firms can handle 100,000 IoT devices: report

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Businesses ready to invest in IoT technologies

Nearly one-third of organisations (31 percent) believe that they can handle up to 100,000 connected devices, according to a new study.

The report, published by IoT World, explores the things that senior executives consider when implementing Internet of Things technologies. The survey was carried out among IT and business leaders in supply chain/logistics, energy, construction, telecoms, agriculture, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, ecommerce, travel, and government.

Alongside the one-third of organisations that are able to implement large-scale projects, nearly half of all respondents – over 46 percent – revealed that their organisations have the resources to manage 1,000 IoT devices.

However, at the other end of the spectrum, 28 percent said that they can accommodate less than 100 devices, probably due to a lack of funding and expertise.

Lack of plans

While connected technology offers organisations numerous benefits, half of respondents lack global IoT strategies, according to the report. Nearly one-quarter of those are developing one, but 16.5 percent have yet to begin.

Aru Bala, president of the innovation business at industrial tools manufacturer Stanley Black & Decker, said that it is crucial that firms plan ahead for the continued rise of IoT technologies. “We have reached an inflection point where IoT is starting to accelerate to commercial mass-scaling from the proof-of-concept experimentation stage,” he said.

“It’s imperative for organisations to have a coherent IoT deployment strategy and not to be left out in this digital transformation arena.”

Great challenges

Although many respondents are confident about implementing IoT systems overall – some on a large scale – organisations still face challenges when it comes to scaling them or integrating them with existing systems, found the survey.

Currently, 53 percent of firms are dealing with legacy devices and software, while 46 percent admitted that they need highly specialised or custom tools to make a success of their IoT programmes.

Delegating IoT responsibilities among business departments is another challenge, found the report, with 37 percent of respondents admitting that they don’t know who should be in charge of connected sensors, gateways, hardware, or software.

When it comes to management, 47 percent of organisations revealed that they have been set back by implementation problems, while 12 percent said that they are unable to find the right support for production-quality deployments.

IoT security challenges

Connectivity and data protection are also presenting problems, according to the survey, with nearly half of respondents (49 percent) lacking the confidence to integrate the correct network management solutions.

Meanwhile, 37 percent said they’re not confident that they can secure IoT data.

Read more: Gartner: IoT security spend hitting $ 1.5 billion – but strategy poor

Read more: Vendors, users ignoring IoT security in rush to market – report

Read more: IIoT security: How to secure the ‘Internet of Threats’, by IBM

On the upside, 72 percent of firms said that they have successfully incorporated security into the design of products, while 62 percent are developing their own IoT security policies.

Dave Shuman, IoT and manufacturing industry leader at Cloudera, believes that firms are balancing “conflicting objectives” when deploying IoT technology.

He said there is a need to “apply pragmatic infosec policies to network devices around availability, integrity, and security, with the heterogeneous nature of the IoT landscape and its constrained network bandwidth”.

Internet of Business says

This timely report offers a useful snapshot into the state of play within IoT deployments. As the recent Gartner security report and others have found, there is a mismatch between many organisations’ operational technology objectives and their ability to formulate a coherent strategy throughout every level of the organisation.

Integrating IoT systems with business objectives is as much a cultural and management challenge as it is a technology problem demanding technology solutions.

And while Aru Bala may be right to warn interested organisations not to get left out in the race to digital transformation, there has to be a real strategic objective behind IoT programmes and the data that they gather and process – not just a strategy for their deployment.

The post One-third of firms can handle 100,000 IoT devices: report appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Android 8.0 is rolling out to US unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices

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The carrier unlocked versions of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are getting Android 8.0 Oreo today. Samsung promised all S8, S8+, and Note 8 devices would receive an Oreo update by mid-April, and they seem to be delivering. S8 and S8+ devices on Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T were all updated in March, and the unlocked Note 8 got the update yesterday.

Reports have been coming in from our readers that their own devices have received the update.

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Android 8.0 is rolling out to US unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google removes GApps 100 device limit for uncertified devices, fixes device registration page

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Late last month, Google announced it would block the Play Store and Google Play Services from running on ‘uncertified’ devices. This was meant to keep OEMs from sideloading the Play Store on devices not approved by Google. The company offered a way for custom ROM users to register their devices, but it was a complicated process, because the registration page didn’t actually provide instructions.

Since then, Google has been making tweaks to the process, and now two annoying requirements have been removed.

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[Update: Now available] LineageOS 15.1 Oreo arrives on the OnePlus 2, Pixel C, and Nexus 6; two more devices get 14.1

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After much anticipation, LineageOS 15.1 (based on Android 8.1) was announced last month. Only a handful of devices had official 15.1 builds at the start, but over time, more have been moved up to Oreo. The Nexus Player, OnePlus One, and Oppo Find 7 were recently added to the roster – and now three more devices are coming.

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[Update: Now available] LineageOS 15.1 Oreo arrives on the OnePlus 2, Pixel C, and Nexus 6; two more devices get 14.1 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Apple’s Developing MicroLED Panels for AR Wearables and Larger Devices

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Apple is developing its own microLED panels. But while we’ve known that news since March, a new report suggests their use could stretch far beyond the Apple Watch. Apple has plans to develop first-party MicroLED panels for both small- and large-sized devices, DigiTimes Senior Analyst Luke Lin wrote in a new report. Previously, rumors of […]
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DHS may have found unauthorized Stingray devices in Washington DC

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The Associated Press reports today that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed that it found what appear to be unauthorized cell-site simulators, also known as Stingrays, in Washington DC last year. The agency told Senator Ron Wyden…
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A comprehensive list of Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0-compatible mobile devices [Update]

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QC 3.0Back in September, Qualcomm announced that devices armed with their new generation of processors – flag-shipped by the Snapdragon 820 – would be capable of even faster and more efficient charging speeds with Quick Charge 3.0. After the announcement, Rita wrote a great summary of the advantages of QC 3.0 over QC 2.0 that you can read if you want specific details about the upgraded charging standard.

Fast forward seven months and the first QC 3.0 Android devices are finally starting to trickle out to consumers.

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A comprehensive list of Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0-compatible mobile devices [Update] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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