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Intel and Amazon plan to work together on a series of smart home initiatives in the near future, the companies announced today in conjunction with Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) re:Invent conference in Las Vegas this week.

Most notably, the companies plan to create a reference design for “an Intel-based smart speaker” that includes the Alexa virtual assistant.

“It is intended to help hardware manufacturers accelerate their development of voice-enabled devices with the Intel platform and Alexa Voice Services,” Intel said in a statement today. The reference designs will be made available in Q1 of 2017, Intel said.

Just this morning, the JAM Voice smart speaker made its debut. As today’s announcements make clear, Alexa’s voice is not constrained to Amazon devices. Alexa Voice Services (AVS) can be used to put Alexa inside a great range of devices that go beyond Amazon Echo or Amazon Tap.


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Intel has partnered with other large companies in the past to create reference designs.

In 2013, Intel and Facebook made plans to work together on photonics, a technology with the potential to give data centers 100 gigabits per second connectivity.

The speaker concept will “support the standards needed for PAN connectivity in the home, including Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth, and is extensible enough to add video capabilities and environment sensors for an all-in-one customer experience,” Amazon AVS content marketing manager Ted Karczewski wrote in a blog post.

In addition, Amazon will release a software development kit (SDK) for the reference design, so that manufacturers can incorporate voice and video services into their products, Karczewski wrote.

Also, Intel will make it possible for smart home hubs with Intel chips to run Alexa skills, Karczewski wrote.

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