Mega-grocer teams with Google Assistant for contextual commerce
The Kroger Co. is furthering its efforts in contextual commerce by adopting voice-assistant technology for ordering groceries online.
Customers can interact with their Kroger Grocery Pickup cart via an action in the Google Assistant voice app – which can be accessed through iOS, Android and Google Assistant devices, Kroger Technology announced on its LinkedIn page. Activating the service is as simple as saying “Hey, Google” into the device.
The service has launched so far in six Kroger-owned banners: Fred Meyer, Fry’s Food and Drug, QFC, King Soopers, City Market, and Ralphs. It will arrive at additional banners later this year and throughout 2019.
The research found that today around a quarter (24%) of respondents would rather use voice assistants than a website. However, in the next three years, this figure will rise to 40%. Close to a third – 31% – said they will prefer a voice assistant interaction to visiting a shop or a bank branch, compared to 20% today.
Here are some of the more interesting gadgets adding voice-assistant capabilities.
Tell your mirror to start your shower
Kohler’s Vendera mirror is the only one of its connected-bathroom products with microphones to hear Alexa commands. It has waterproof speakers, so you can ask it to play music or the news. You can also ask it to control the PerfectFill bathtub or start the DTV shower. And, of course, you can ask it to flush the $5,625 Numi toilet for you. The products are all due out later this year.
Soothe your baby
Project Nursery Smart Baby Monitor System is a $229 setup that lets you tend to you baby with voice controls. You can ask Alexa to play white noise in the baby’s room while you’re reading in another. Similarly, the Nanit baby monitor, $299, will track your child’s sleep in detail. You can ask Alexa how long the baby slept last night or when she woke up.
Feed the cat without seeing the cat
Your pet is hungry. You don’t want to stand up. Ask Alexa or Google Assistant to release some chow on the $149 Petnet SmartFeeder 2.0. The voice assistants can also share updates about a pet’s eating habits and, if you have a connected camera, take photos of them while they’re eating.
Tell your cleaning robot it missed a spot
The Aeolus robot will be able mop or vacuum, pick up your messes, and detect human movements — such as a senior citizen falling. The robot, which is currently a prototype, will have Alexa and Google Voice integrated so you can tell it what to clean while you do lazy human things.
Turn your surveillance robot into a radio
Lynx is a smaller, cuter robot that can double as an $800 Amazon Echo. It can hear all the regular Alexa commands, and tell you the weather, news, or trivia. The robot is primarily meant for security, and uses facial recognition to spot and record intruders. Lynx can also act as a rolling video-conference robot if you want a far-away family member to feel like they’re in the room.
Ask your fridge to buy milk
The LG InstaView ThinkQ refrigerator has a giant 29-inch screen on the door, so you already know it’s dying to be the fridge of the future. LG actually added Alexa powers to a fridge last year. Now it’s making the various devices (fridge, stove, dishwasher) communicate with each other as well.
Pre-heat the oven
Also in the kitchen, Google Assistant and Alexa can control a Jenn-Air connected oven. You can switch the temperature while something is cooking or turn it off altogether.
Feel less lonely in your augmented reality glasses
The $1,000 Vuzix augmented reality smart-glasses will have a microphone built in so you can ask Alexa any of the usual questions. It will whisper replies in your ear, but also show some visual answers, such as weather, on the glasses’ heads-up display.