Espial scores Amazon Alexa support for multiple operator partners

Espial Elevate operator partners can now offer subscribers hands-free controls using Amazon Alexa. (Getty/canbedone)

TV software company Espial today announced it has secured Amazon Alexa voice control support for multiple pay TV operators using its Espial Elevate service.

In what Espial described as an “industry first,” Amazon signed off on a bulk certification of Alexa for 18 different service providers using Espial’s TV-as-a-service product. Now MSOs including MCTV, Hiawatha Broadband Communications, Optic Communications and Eagle Communications can now offer hands-free controls to their subscribers.

“Voice assistants are becoming increasingly popular with consumers who are seeing the simplicity and convenience of the interface, and Amazon Alexa has become the most popular voice assistant. With our Elevate TVaaS platform, we have been able to bulk-certify multiple operators to ensure they can offer voice control to consumers who are part of the Alexa ecosystem. With this integration, Elevate enables consumers to find the content they want to watch faster and more easily, leveraging the Alexa range of smart IoT devices,” said Michael McCluskey, vice president of product management at Espial, in a statement.

“Our team at Optic Communications has always tried to be an early adopter of advancements in our industry. When we were told that Amazon Alexa integration was possible with Elevate, we needed to be one of the first to include it. Customers are integrating more and more IoT devices in their home and we wanted to help customers include their cable television services as well,” said Noah Popejoy, sales and marketing coordinator at Optic Communications, in a statement.

Espial provided some data to back up its new Alexa integration, citing Juniper Research estimates that predict there will be 8 billion digital voice assistants in use by 2023, up from the 2.5 billion assistants in use at the end of 2018.

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This isn’t the first time that Espial has turned to a tech giant to help build out capabilities for its Elevate platform. Late last year, the company announced that it’s building a fully managed Android TV service solution on top of Elevate.

“Android TV has become a key platform for many service providers. We have tapped into the latest functionality from Google and have combined it with our operational depth and experience to offer a TV-as-a-Service solution for Android TV. By integrating Android TV into our Elevate cloud ecosystem, operators can bring Android TV services to market quickly and with low risk, while taking advantage of the latest innovations,” McCluskey said.