Printer maker Epson has enhanced the capabilities of its Connect smart device service to make it compatible with Amazon Alexa, allowing users to run their devices via voice commands.
With a new Amazon Alexa "skill," Epson printer users can produce a variety of documents, including shopping and to-do lists, craft items and calendars. Via Amazon's new Skill Connections feature, they can also print from select “Skills” such Allrecipes.com. New features can be used on site or remotely. Printers enabled with Epson Connect include the brand’s EcoTank, WorkForce and Expression models.
"In the ever-expanding world of IoT, Epson voice-activated printing is another way to increase productivity and connectivity, ensuring the latest technologies work together effortlessly to benefit our customers' busy lives," said Jack Rieger, Epson America’s senior product manager of software and user experience. "With the Epson printer skill, we've made printing as easy as having a conversation. Voice-activated printing is the next smart convenience in today's smart home."
Epson Connect allows users to print documents and images wirelessly from mobile devices and tablets. It also facilitates e-mail, remote and cloud printing. Most internet browsers and computer operating systems support the service.
Epson plans to add support for multiple voice assistants in early 2019.
Other major printer manufacturers are also offering voice-activated printers. At the January 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, Hewlett-Packard introduced voice support for its web-enabled printers through Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana.
Also this year, Xerox partnered with Gabi Solutions to bring artificial intelligence-driven voice recognition to its AltaLink line of high-volume, multi-function printers.