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Espial announces Alexa certification for 18 operators using Elevate platform

Michael McCluskey

Espial, the company behind TV as a Service (TVaaS) platform Espial Elevate, has announced they have certified several Amazon Alexa voice controls for Elevate’s next-gen IPTV, app-TV and cable services.

In what it claims is an industry first, Espial said that Amazon completed a bulk certification of multiple PayTV operators, enabling operators to move rapidly through the certification process.

A key benefit of the Elevate video platform is the ability for operators to benefit from scale.  Certifying various OTT services like Netflix, YouTube, and now voice services like Alexa, and making this available to operators reduces costs, accelerates time to market, and allows operators of all sizes to benefit from the most advanced services. MCTV, Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC), Optic Communications, and Eagle Communications are among the companies that offer these services.

As an example of what is possible with Amazon Alexa, Elevate will now enable the customers of certified operators to control their TV experience with hands-free control. For instance, a simple statement such as, ‘Watch the Chicago Cubs’ will allow a user to watch a baseball game without having to find their remote control.

Michael McCluskey, VP product management, Espial, said: “Voice assistants are increasingly popular with consumers who are seeing the simplicity and convenience of the interface, and Amazon Alexa has become the most popular voice assistant. With our Elevate TVaaS platform, we have been able to bulk-certify multiple operators to ensure they can offer voice control to consumers who are part of the Alexa ecosystem. With this integration, Elevate enables consumers to find content faster and more easily, leveraging the Alexa range of smart IoT devices.”

Noah Popejoy, sales and marketing coordinator, Optic Communications, added: “Our team has always tried to be an early adopter. When we were told that Amazon Alexa integration was possible with Elevate, we needed to be one of the first to include it. Customers are integrating more and more IoT devices in their home and we wanted to help customers include their cable television services as well.”

Recent research  from Juniper Research estimates there will be 8bn digital voice assistants in use by 2023, up from 2.5bn at the end of 2018. It also says Smart TVs expand fastest, growing by more than 100% every year for the next five years.