Amazon Adds Music And Water Controls To Echo As Part Of Alexa Fund Roll-Out

Amazon has today announced that two new companies, Musaic and Rachio, are being added to the Amazon Echo platform with investments from the $100 million Alexa Fund.

With the Amazon Echo, which is in many ways a first-of-its-kind device, Amazon is taking a different approach to building out the voice-powered home assistant’s feature set.

Instead of trying to do it all, Amazon is tapping various developers to build on the Alexa API, connecting third-party devices and services to the system for as much user functionality as possible.

For those of you who are new to the Amazon Echo, it’s a voice-powered IoT device that sits in the home and responds to queries. These queries can include informational questions (how tall is the Empire State building?), a request to turn on the lights through a forthcoming SmartThings integration, or simply an addition to your Amazon shopping list.

All the user has to do is say “Alexa” and the Echo begins listening and responding to requests.

To ensure users can do as much as possible through the Echo, Amazon has dedicated $100 million to the Alexa Fund, which will help startups to integrate with the Alexa API and become service providers through the device.

Musaic and Rachio are the most recent companies to receive investment from the Alexa Fund, and will bring their know-how in HiFi music and home automation to the voice-powered Echo.

Musaic is a wireless HiFi music system that lets users control their music in various rooms, alongside adjusting the lighting to fit the mood of the music. Rachio, on the other hand, is a software/hardware company that helps monitor the water use in the home through a smart sprinkler system that watches the weather.

Musaic and Rachio join other Alexa Fund recipients such as Orange Chef, Scout Alarm, Garageio, Toymail, Dragon Innovation, MARA, and Mojio, with more to surely follow.