Last week Amazon announced that it is adding cooking capabilities to the Smart Home Skill API, which enables its voice-controlled digital personal assistant, Alexa, to control and check the status of cloud-connected devices.
Initially, the API will be extended to allow Alexa to control microwave ovens but Amazon says that support for other kitchen devices, such as conventional ovens, is coming soon.
With the new functionality, which consists of four new capability interfaces related to preset cooking, the manufacturer of a cloud-connected microwave could allow customers to issue commands like "Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken" or "Alexa, microwave for 2 minutes on medium."
According to Amazon, Whirlpool has already created an Alexa skill for its connected microwaves that will be launched soon, and GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG and Samsung are working on their own skills for their connected microwaves.
In addition, Amazon announced that the Alexa Fund, a venture capital fund set up to invest in companies that incorporate Alexa in their products, has made an investment in June Life, the maker of a smart oven that it calls the "world’s only intelligent convection oven." June Life will no doubt soon be taking advantage of the extended Smart Home Skill API as well.
To date, Amazon says that consumers have connected tens of millions of devices to Alexa and that number will only grow as Amazon extends the footprint covered by Alexa into new rooms. The kitchen is an especially promising front for the growth of Alexa because, as Amazon notes, "hands-free control is especially valuable when cooking."