Amazon has tuned the Alexa Super Bowl ad so it won't activate Echo devices

If you live in the United States and are a fan of sports, you'll know that the Super Bowl is a huge event. If unfamiliar, the game itself marks the end of the National Football League (NFL) season, with the two best teams in the league competing for the championship. Because of the millions of people that tune in to watch the game each year, companies vie to secure commercial time where a 30-second spot costs around $5 million. But these aren't your run-of-the-mill commercials that you see normally. Each one has been meticulously crafted, in order to maximize the time and to make a lasting impression.

After having a phenomenal year, Amazon isn't showing signs of slowing down, with plans to air its 90-second commercial for its Alexa powered products during the Super Bowl. If you haven't already watched it, the commercial is available to watch on YouTube and if you can't tell, the word "Alexa" is being thrown around quite a bit. If unfamiliar, in order to trigger the digital assistant on Amazon's products, you can say "Alexa" or you can also change it to recognize the words "Amazon", "Computer", or "Echo". If you keep it to its default of Alexa, you can imagine the kind of havoc commercials like this might bring to those that already own products with the digital assistant.

But, it looks like that probably won't happen with its commercial on Sunday as Amazon has assured that it has thought of this and has taken steps to ensure that current owners of Alexa products won't be bothered with their devices triggering. A spokesperson for Amazon didn't delve into how the company is making this happen but did state that the firm does alter its Alexa ads to minimize the chance of it triggering its products that are already in customers homes.

According to a Reddit user that did a deep dive into how maybe the company could prevent its ads from triggering existing products, found that by manipulating the audio frequencies in the ad itself, it can prevent devices from understanding the Alexa command. By analyzing Alexa commercials, the user found that audio transmissions when "Alexa" was mentioned were weak, especially in the 3000hz to 6000hz range. By employing this technique, the Reddit user was able to successfully prevent Alexa products from waking, even when a recorded source was using the trigger word right next to the product.

While you still might get an occasional trigger from a random mutter of the word Alexa from a recorded source, you most likely won't have to worry about such things happening during major events like the Super Bowl and can enjoy the game in peace.

Source: Bloomberg

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Apple offers free fix for iPhone 7 handsets plagued by "No Service"

Next Story

A critical Adobe Flash Player zero-day vulnerability is out in the wild... again

15 Comments - Add comment

Advertisement