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Internet of Things (IoT)

Welcome to India, Amazon Alexa and Echo Devices.

Amazon Today announced the Alexa Powered Echo Devices in India. Early adopters and developers may request an invitation to purchase devices beginning today on Amazon.in.

Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot are voice-controlled speakers designed entirely around your voice—they are always ready, hands-free, and fast. Alexa is the brain behind Echo—since Alexa runs in the cloud, the service is always getting smarter.

For a limited time, eligible customers will receive an introductory discount of 30% off the purchase price of Echo devices and one year of Prime membership. Devices will ship beginning the week of October 30th.

Using these devices is as simple as asking Alexa – Alexa will answer questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms, check the calendar, provide sports scores, control lights at home, and much more. With Echo’s far-field voice control, you can do all this from across the room using just your voice. ​

Developers can get started at https://developer.amazon.com/in/alexa-skills-kit.

Add Capabilities to Alexa Using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK)

The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of free, self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for developers to create skills, or capabilities, for Alexa. Anyone can design and build for voice, no coding knowledge is required. From daily news updates, to interactive games, to smart-home integrations, developers from India and all over the world are creating voice-first experiences with Alexa. More than 10,000 skills will be available when the service launches to customers in India this month.

Build Skills with Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Whether it’s computing power, database storage, or content delivery, AWS has a wide range of services to help developers build sophisticated applications with increased flexibility, scalability and reliability.

The easiest way for Alexa skill developers to connect their skill to the cloud is to use AWS Lambda, an innovative compute service that runs code only when needed and scales automatically, so there is no need to provision or continuously run servers.

Developers can also enhance and scale skills using additional AWS offerings such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon CloudFront.

Alexa Voice Service (AVS): Integrate Alexa into Any Connected Product

The Alexa Voice Service (AVS) enables developers to integrate Alexa directly into their products, bringing the convenience of voice control to any connected device. AVS provides developers with access to a suite of resources to quickly and easily build Alexa-enabled products, including APIs, hardware development kits, software development kits, and documentation.

Through AVS, device makers can add a new intelligent interface to their products and offer customers access to a growing number of Alexa features, smart home integrations, and skills. Starting today, developers can begin building an AVS prototype, and can sign up for the developer preview to be notified when AVS will be widely available for customers in India.

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News

Amazon Inspire, a Free Service for Digital Education

Amazon announced Amazon Inspire, a free service for the search, discovery and distribution of digital educational resources. Amazon Inspire will help teachers discover and share free, quality digital educational resources. Teachers from around the U.S are being invited to support learning and teaching in the digital classroom; to help Amazon’s support of the U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen initiative.

This campaign encourages states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed educational materials to transform teaching and learning. Amazon Inspire is in the beta stage and is ready for teachers to use and provide feedback. If you’re a teacher, then you can request an early access here.

Amazon Inspire video
Source: Amazon

Amazon Inspire Features

  • Smart search — With smart search, teachers can explore resources by grade level, standard or even from a particular district. Educators can filter search results using more than 10 criteria to find great resources that best fit their needs.
  • Collections — Educators can group resources into collections. They can describe the collection, curate the resources in it, recommend an order for going through the resources and share the collection with other teachers.
  • Simple upload — Amazon Inspire offers an easy to use and intuitive upload interface. Educators can drag and drop files they want to share, add basic metadata such as title, description, grade and subject, and publish the content on the service, all in a few minutes.
  • Customer reviews — Teachers can rate and review resources on Amazon Inspire, helping their colleagues around the country select the best resources for their needs.
  • Accessibility support — Amazon Inspire has built in accessibility features. For example, educators can navigate Amazon Inspire using popular screen readers and users are also able to indicate the accessibility features of resources they upload.

In addition to teachers sharing innovative instructional resources on Amazon Inspire, publishers and other content developers are contributing digital educational resources to the service.

Categories
News

Amazon Introduces Prime Now Today, One-Hour Delivery

Amazon announced Prime Now, the newest benefit for Prime members, which offers one-hour delivery on tens of thousands of daily essentials through a mobile app in the US. Prime Now is powered by Amazon’s growing network of fulfillment centers that utilize high-end technology to speed up order delivery times for customers. Now, Prime members can get products like paper towels, shampoo, books, toys and batteries delivered right to their door in an hour or less.

Amazon is launching Prime Now in select areas of Manhattan today. The service, which promises delivery in as little as an hour in New York between 6 a.m. and midnight, will expand to other cities next year. Amazon will charge $7.99 for delivery within an hour, with two-hour delivery being free. More than 25,000 items are eligible under the Prime Now program, which is only available to customers who pay $99 for the annual Prime membership. Prime members can immediately download the Prime Now app, available on iOS and Android devices, and will be notified when the service is available in their local area.

Amazon Prime is an annual membership program for $99 a year that offers customers unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on more than 20 million items across all categories, unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video, one million songs and hundreds of playlists with Prime Music, early access to select Lightning Deals and access to more than 600,000 books to borrow with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

Learn more about Amazon Prime Now and download the mobile app at www.amazon.com/primenow.

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IT News, Tech Information and Analysis News

Welcome ‘Pay with Amazon’ in India

Amazon today announced the launch of its payment service for third party sellers, ‘Pay with Amazon’ in India. Sellers of all sizes across the country, especially small and medium sellers can now convert their static websites into digital storefronts and tap into the growing base of online users in the country.

Through an easy setup process and integrated order management and payments, “Pay with Amazon” helps sellers completely outsource their financial transactional infrastructure allowing them to focus on the core business of sourcing and inventory management. Pay with Amazon is mobile optimized across all operating systems including Android, iOS and Windows.

With no additional setup, merchants can ride the mobile commerce wave. Customers use the information already stored in their Amazon accounts, with no need to re-enter credit card or address information. If you are a developer/business owner, you can make use of these resources to implement ‘Pay with Amazon’ in your applications. Read the guidelines and download the icons here.

Pay_With_Amazon

Pay with Amazon offers customers a convenient, easy and trusted platform to make purchases. By clicking on ‘Pay with Amazon’ button on the checkout page, customers can shop on the seller websites using Amazon’s trusted checkout process, secure in the knowledge that their purchase is protected by Amazon’s Buyer protection program. Customers can use the information stored in their Amazon account to make purchases on seller sites without having to create an account all over again or filling payment and shipping details.

Whether you are a customer or a merchant, you are covered. Customers’ purchases are covered by the 100% Buyer Protection Guarantee, and merchants can use the same fraud detection technology used by Amazon at no additional cost.

 

Categories
News

Amazon Fire Phone is now 99 cents with a Two Year Contract

Amazon today announced that, the Fire Phone is going to be available for 99 cents with a two year contract. This comes right in time before Apple makes its iPhone 6 launch tomorrow.
Fire phone is powered by the latest version of Fire OS, which starts with Android and adds cloud services, a content-forward user interface, built-in media libraries, productivity apps, and platform enhancements to integrate Amazon’s digital content and improve performance. Fire is the only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective and Firefly, two breakthrough technologies that allow you to see and interact with the world through a whole new lens. Fire features an advanced, 13MP rear-facing camera with backside illumination, LED flash, 5-element f/2.0 lens, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), and high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities for beautiful, crisp photos, even in low-light conditions. Fire also includes a 2.1MP front-facing camera, and photos taken with Fire receive free, unlimited cloud storage.

Fire Phone is backed with free unlimited cloud storage for photos, 32GB of storage—and, for a limited time, customers get 12 months of Prime membership with Fire phone, which includes unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes from Prime Instant Video, access to over a million songs to download or stream from Prime Music, over 500,000 books to borrow from Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and free two-day shipping on tens of millions of items.
amazon-fire-phone

In the U.S., Fire is available exclusively on AT&T – the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network. Fire with 32GB is available for 99 cents with a two-year contract or $0 down and $18.75 per month (for 24 months) with AT&T NEXT 18. Customers can purchase Fire at www.amazon.com, www.att.com or AT&T stores nationwide.

The unlocked version is going to be available around 449 USD (off contract) in the US. In the UK, Fire phone will be available exclusively on O2 on 30 September with a range of tariffs available for data, calls and texts including a new 20GB 4G data plan, with pre-orders available from today.

Categories
General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Amazon WorkSpaces is Now Available for Public

Amazon WorkSpaces is a fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud. Amazon WorkSpaces allows customers to easily provision cloud-based desktops that allow end-users to access the documents, applications and resources they need with the device of their choice, including laptops, iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android tablets.

To use WorkSpaces, customers need an AWS account, a supported client device, and internet access (TCP on port 443 plus TCP and UDP on port 4172, notes Amazon). After downloading and installing the client on their device of choice, users are delivered a cloud-based Windows 7 computing environment, offering persistent storage, various bundled utilities, productivity apps required for their job, and access to the resources and files they need on the company’s corporate intranet. To get a quick overview of what this technology is, watch the video below –

To know more, read the official blog-post here

Some Key Features and Benefits Include:

  • Amazon WorkSpaces makes it easy to manage your desktop computing infrastructure by eliminating the need for up-front investments and avoiding the complexity of maintaining, patching, and managing a large physical desktop environment or a complex virtual desktop solution.
  • Amazon WorkSpaces securely integrates with your corporate Active Directory so that your users can continue using their existing enterprise credentials to seamlessly access company resources. This also makes it easy to manage your WorkSpaces using familiar systems management tools.
  • Amazon WorkSpaces provides each user with access to persistent storage in the AWS cloud. When users access their desktops using Amazon WorkSpaces, you control whether your corporate data is stored on multiple client devices, helping you keep your data secure.
  • Amazon WorkSpaces offers a choice of bundles providing different amounts of CPU, memory, and storage so you can match your Amazon WorkSpaces to your requirements. Amazon WorkSpaces offers preinstalled applications (including Microsoft Office) or you can bring your own licensed software.
  • Amazon WorkSpaces requires no upfront investment and features pay as you go pricing. With a few clicks, you can provision the number of desktops you require and you pay only for what you use.

With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, customers can provision a high-quality desktop experience for any number of users at a cost that is highly competitive with traditional desktops and half the cost of most virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions.

Categories
General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Amazon CloudSearch – fully-managed search service in the cloud

Amazon CloudSearch is a fully-managed search service in the cloud that allows customers to easily integrate fast and highly scalable search functionality into their applications. With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, developers simply create a search domain, upload the data they want to make searchable to Amazon CloudSearch, and the service then automatically provisions the technology resources required and deploys a highly tuned search index.

Amazon CloudSearch seamlessly scales as the amount of searchable data increases or as the query rate changes, and developers can change search parameters, fine tune search relevance, and apply new settings at any time without having to upload the data again.

For an overview of the Amazon CloudSearch, have a look at this below video:

Amazon CloudSearch enables customers to offload the administrative burden of operating and scaling a search platform. Customers don’t have to worry about hardware provisioning, data partitioning, or software patches. Amazon CloudSearch offers low, pay-as-you-go pricing with no up-front expenses or long-term commitments.

For Pricing details, refer to this page: http://aws.amazon.com/cloudsearch/#pricing

To read more Cloud Articles on Technology Simplified weblog, check this page

Categories
General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Free Usage Tier from Amazon Web Services – Cloud Computing

Beginning November 1, new AWS customers will be able to run a free Amazon EC2 instance for a year, while also leveraging a new free usage tier for Amazon S3, Amazon Elastic Block Store, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, and AWS data transfer.

This will enable developers to launch new applications, broaden their AWS knowledge, or simply gain hands-on familiarity with the services — all while incurring no charges.

To learn more about the new AWS free usage tier, visit http://aws.amazon.com/free

Highlights of AWS’s new free offering –

  • 750 hours per month of micro Linux Amazon EC2 instance usage — enough to run continuously (there are approximately 750 hours in a month)
  • 750 hours per month of an Amazon Elastic Load Balancer
  • 10 GB per month of Amazon Elastic Block Storage
  • 5 GB per month of Amazon S3 Storage
  • 30 GB per month of internet data transfer (15 GB of data transfer “in” and 15 GB of data transfer “out” across all services)
  • 25 Machine Hours per month of Amazon SimpleDB
  • 100,000 Requests per month of Amazon Simple Queue Service
  • 100,000 Requests per month, 100,000 Notifications over HTTP per month, and 1,000 Notifications over Email per month for Amazon Simple Notification Service

Courtesy: MarketWatch, Business Wire

To understand the basics of Cloud Platforms, Download these Videos and Ebook. You would also be interested to read my interview with David Kirkpatrick on the Importance of Cloud Services.