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Against Amazon and Apple: “Yandex” introduced the first smart column

The company “Yandex” released a sound column “Yandeks.Stantsiya” with the built-in voice assistant “Alice”. The user will be able to give voice requests to the column, as well as launch media files (35 million songs from Yandex.Music, 10,000 films and serials from online cinemas ivi, Amediathek and Kinoisk), call a taxi, order pizza, etc. The founder and CEO of Yandex, Arkady Volozh F 65, noted that in Russia there is no market for smart assistants managed by voice, but they will soon become ubiquitous. In particular, due to lower prices:

“A voice [smart assistant with voice control] is a controller and microphone matrix. A couple of years ago, these were very expensive technologies. Now it will be 2 chipsets, which will cost $ 30-50, and soon they will cost even cheaper. “

The creator of the device, Konstantin Kruglov, noted that it is planned to add audio books and the possibility of contextual search for television programs to Alice (the voice assistant used in the column). The gadget provides three modes of content filtering so that the user can choose a level of content security, for example, a child security level.

Against Amazon and Apple: "Yandex" introduced the first smart column

Also in the column it is planned to add management functions of a smart home, since in Russia there are no working systems of this kind. First, it is planned to add light and air conditioning control.

The column “Yandeks.Stantsiya” has a capacity of 50 watts, can be connected to the TV to play video content. The cost of the device will be 9990 rubles, sales of the device will begin in the summer.

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Yandex.Plus. The company also announced a subscription to “Yandex.Plus”, which includes subscriptions to the services of “Yandex.Music” and “Film Search”, as well as special prices for proprietary services for calling a taxi and karshering. The monthly subscription price is 169 rubles a month, the first three months are free.

The column’s owners will receive a subscription to “Yandex.Plus”, which includes a year of free access to music and the service “Film Search”, two months of access to films from the online cinema “Amediathek” and three months – ivi.

The market at $ 3.5 billion. Russian service in many repeats the functions of Amazon Prime, also the American company has its own clever column Echo with built-in voice assistant Alexa.

The design of the column “Yandex” was created in California. At the same time, the Russian gadget is larger in size than Echo. The sound at the speaker is very good, but some commands “Alice” recognizes from the second to the third time. Perhaps the situation will be improved in the serial samples.

Smart speakers are a fast-growing industry. According to the analytical company Canalys in the first quarter of 2018, it sold 3.1 times more gadgets than the year before – only 9 million units. Google outstripped previously leading Amazon, putting 3.2 million columns of Google Home and Home Mini against 2.5 million Echo. Following are Chinese and Korean vendors, Apple also created its own product. According to Gartner forecasts, the volume of this market in 2016 was $ 700 million, and in 2021 it will reach $ 3.5 billion

Despite such eminent competitors, Yandex has good positions for the sale of its “Station” in Russia and the surrounding countries, since these markets are of little interest to international companies as a market for smart speakers – two thirds of sales of gadgets fall to the US, China and South Korea.

In addition, for the comfortable operation of the gadget requires the recognition of the Russian language, which is not a priority for English-speaking companies. Also for the sale of media content in Russia, it is required to obtain a license from rightholders for our country, again such a need is already embedded in the business model of Yandex and its above-mentioned partners (Amediatka and ivi).

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“Yandex” released its column, so as not to depend on other developers. In the smartphone market, for example, the company had to conduct a legal battle with Google, and also negotiate with Apple to be present on mobile devices with Android and iOS operating systems.

The company also introduced the “Dialogs” platform, which allows third-party developers to add new functions to “Alice” (from new dialogues to new services, for example, acquiring something, and games). Sony Mobile announced that the wireless headphones Xperia Ear Duo with open sound technology (the user hears not only music, but ambient sounds) became the first portable device supporting the voice assistant “Alice”.

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