Zyxel Communications, a Taiwan-based networking device maker, recently added Germany language support as well as Amazon Alexa integration to its mesh Wi-Fi system Multy X that provides whole-home coverage.
Alexa will perform three types of functions for Multy X. First of all, users can check the Internet connection, such as upload and download speeds, using voice commands.
Secondly, Alexa will allow users to turn on and off the LED light that is embedded in Multy X. People usually use the LED as a nightlight or to create atmosphere, according to Zyxel.
The third function that people can do with Alexa is turning off guest Wi-Fi at home. For security reason, currently the guest Wi-Fi cannot be turned on with a voice command. It can only be done using an app.
While Alexa can understand the meaning of voice command, it can’t authenticate the person giving command. “A major problem with voice technology is that it can’t recognize the identity of the speaker,” said Bill Su, Senior Associate VP of Smart Living Strategic Business Unit at Zyxel.
Multy X can only be turned off with voice “because it would be very strange if someone can come in and ask for the password for the home Wi-Fi,” said Su. “It’s like asking for the password for your safe.”
New Cybersecurity Service
One big improvement in Alexa is that it now allows companies to sell their services via Alexa, so that Alexa skill is no longer just a free service, and can generate revenues for businesses.
Zyxel is considering launching a subscription-based cybersecurity service to guard against hackers and viruses. The service is planned to be launched by the end of 2018, and by then, users may be able to inquire how many intrusions have been blocked with voice.
The new service is a natural development for Zyxel. Besides serving the consumer market, Zyxel is serving the commercial market. It is essentially brining the commercial protection mechanism to the consumer market, Su said.
Integration with Major Platforms
System companies really don’t have a choice in regards to whether they should integrate with major smart home platforms. Voice control is becoming common and more users are requesting compatibility with Alexa or Google Assistant, Su said.
In order to provide Alexa support, Zyxel currently uses Amazon Web Service. The company is likely to use Google’s cloud in the future in order to have Google Assistant compatibility. “It’s just a matter of time, since more and more people are using Google Home, especially outside of the U.S.,” Su said.
Also, the company may enter the Chinese market in the future and have integration with Xiaomi or other local systems. Zyxel wants to have integration with as many ecosystems as possible, in order to serve more markets, Su pointed out.