Altice USA hopes to make some noise in the growing smart speaker market.
The New York-based service operator introduced Altice Amplify, a high-fidelity home speaker made by Paris-based company Devialet that can work in tandem with the operator's Altice One all-services hub as well as a wide range of third-party streaming services, including Spotify, Amazon Music, Amazon's Audible, Apple Music, Tidal, TuneIn, Pandora and iHeartRadio.
Powered by Amazon's Alexa Built-In technology, Altice Amplify also has access to more than 90,000 Alexa "skills," Altice USA said.
Altice Amplify will be available for purchase later this year at Amazon.com and at Altice USA's Optimum and Suddenlink retail stores for $399 for Altice USA customers and $499 for non-customers. Altice USA will also lease the smart speaker to Altice One customers for $10 per month. Altice USA ended Q2 with 429,000 customers on Altice One, or about 13% of its total video subscriber base.
Why this matters
Though the smart speaker is largely the domain of the consumer retail market, Altice USA's new offering indicates a new front being opened up by US service providers with respect to how they intend to cast their influence on the smart home device ecosystem.
While support and integration of third-party IoT devices such as connected lights, locks and garage door openers are now part of smart home platforms being marketed today by Comcast (Xfinity Home) and, soon, by Charter Communications, Altice USA's move into the smart speaker arena could apply some competitive pressure on similar products sold by Google, Roku and Apple. Meanwhile, Altice Amplify also represents a win of sorts for Amazon as it is powered by Alexa tech.
Altice USA is also jumping into this game as consumer adoption of smart speakers is on the rise. According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) data, the US installed base for smart speaker products climbed to 66 million at the end of 2018, up from 37 million in the prior year, and is led by Amazon. Parks Associates, meanwhile, predicts that smart speakers with voice assistants will reach 47% of US broadband households by 2022.
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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading