HP INC has joined the age of the voice-assistant, with support for Amazon Alexa joining Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana which launched late last year.
HP's blog at HP Garage claims it is the "first printer company to enable intuitive voice commands on leading smart speaker platforms." (A reminder of just how far behind Siri has got, perhaps, it isn't even mentioned.)
The secret behind the skill lies with a feature that not everyone knows about - the e-mail address of the printer. Every online HP printer has one, and once you have yours, you can apply it to the Alexa Skill (from the store) and from then on, you're good to go.
The trigger is "Alexa, ask my printer to print…" - it has been set up with a range of options, some tied into your Alexa account like printing your calendar, to do list or shopping list.
Others are more general "nice to haves" like a bingo card, colouring book pages, Sudoku or (and we're a bit confused by this one), Notebook Paper.
Does it literally print some lines on to blank paper? Really?
Integrating voice into the home printer is an undeniably useful application of the technology," says Anneliese Olson, general manager and global head of home printing at HP. "For busy families, the virtual assistant ecosystem makes a lot of sense and connecting a printer to it is a natural extension within the smart home."
Because, we've all been there, too busy to print our own bingo cards.
At the moment, explains HP, there's differing functionality between the three platforms and it's relatively basic, but this is just the beginning.
The company is working towards something much grander. Firstly with dynamic phrases like "order more of our horrifically overpriced ink" and "print 3 copies".
Then later, AI might add in some pro-activity, such as "print my boarding pass" could trigger the printer to check your calendar, independently of a computer, and print off the right boarding pass for your next flight. µ
DISCLAIMER: The INQUIRER is not singling out HP for the price of its ink. All printer ink is a rip-off.
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