Qualcomm goes all-in on Amazon Alexa voice control with a new development kit

Manufacturers building devices to run on Qualcomm’s mesh Wi-Fi systems just got some good news: The multinational company once best known for its semiconductors has announced the first development kit for mesh Wi-Fi networks that integrates the Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS), complete with a certification by Amazon. The new kit will enable smart home device manufacturers and other companies operating in the sector to quickly and cost effectively create mesh Wi-Fi systems with Alexa built in, widening both the reach and appeal of voice control in Wi-Fi-connected systems.

The new kit is enabled by the ClearVoice far-field voice enhancement software solution from Silicon Valley’s Meeami Technologies, which makes it easy for mesh networking manufacturers to layer voice control capabilities onto devices and networks that are powered by Qualcomm’s Wi-Fi mesh platforms. As with Amazon’s Echo or Dot devices, customers can manage, automate, and monitor smart home devices, as well as play music, ask questions, and access tens of thousands of skills.

“Mesh networks have become the new standard to ensure the best possible connected experience in the home. By adding Amazon’s advanced voice capabilities through the Alexa Voice Service, we are unlocking new opportunities for customers to enable exciting new smart home experiences controlled with the simplicity of voice,” said Nick Kucharewski, vice president and general manager of Wireless Infrastructure and Networking for Qualcomm Technologies. “By integrating our mesh platform with Alexa, we create a powerful development kit that enables device manufacturers to quickly and economically bring innovative new products to market and meet the development speed of this fast-growing market.”

While most smart home customers are accustomed to Wi-Fi networks enabled by basic and often outdated Wi-Fi modems and routers, mesh networks from providers like Qualcomm have the potential to significantly improve the smart home experience, especially for families living in large, multi-space homes. Meeami’s far-field voice enhancement algorithms enable voice commands to be understood from distances of several meters in noisy conditions.

The product itself, for homeowners and manufacturers who want to boost their smart home game, is called the Qualcomm Mesh Networking Development Kit for Amazon AVS. For veterans of mesh networking, the kit includes all the previously announced features in Qualcomm’s mesh networking design, including an IPQ4019 integrated network processor, integrated audio decoding and post-processing, far-field voice multi-microphone support, WWD (that’s wake word detection), and a full software stack of the Qualcomm Mesh Networking Platform.

The new kit comes not long after after Amazon released an Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit tool to developers that’s augmented by Qualcomm’s smart headset with Alexa reference design to help device manufacturers get a step ahead.

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