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Widespread outage of Amazon’s Alexa sparks debate of smart home viability

Amazon has placed a lot of emphasis on its Alexa virtual assistant recently, launching a plethora of Echo devices during a surprise event. Sadly, it seems as though Alexa is suffering issues throughout Europe resulting in devices not responding to ordinary commands.

Unveiling a range of new Alexa-powered Echo devices, Amazon is banking on its smart technology to expand the offerings throughout the household and beyond. It’s £50 entry-level Echo Dot, £140 Echo Plus, £220 Echo Show and the Echo Sub build upon the current range, while the Echo Smart Plug and Echo Input will help allow third-party devices be controlled by Alexa.

Moving into the kitchen, Amazon will be introducing an Alexa-powered microwave and breaking beyond the confines of the house, US residents can get their hands on an Echo Auto for the dashboard of their car.

Those that currently own an Alexa-powered device in Europe might be experiencing issues, however, as Down Detector shows multiple reports of service outages throughout the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria. Many of the reported experiences resulted in a complete lack of response from the smart device, while others received the response “I am having trouble understanding, try again later.”

The issues began appearing at 8am BST and while they seem to have died down by 2pm, it prompts the necessary discussion of how viable smart homes truly are. Owners of smart homes rely on the integrated smart assistant to function, and in this case were left without the ability to conduct everyday things for up to six hours.

Amazon’s Web Service (AWS) is likely to blame, although there haven’t been too many reports of other systems using the service being affected by the outage. Amazon has yet to address the issue formally, however those still experiencing problems are advised to restart their devices.

KitGuru Says: While the convenience of a smart home always sounds tantalising, these are the problems we face with such heavy amounts of integration. Did you experience problems with Alexa earlier today? Would you trust a fully integrated smart home knowing that this could be a risk?

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