Amazon is investing thousands of dollars in TrackR, a company that develops Bluetooth enabled devices, to extend the reach of its Alexa virtual assistant. The partnership is said to enable users to find lost items via Amazon Echo as well as give the TrackR service a voice response capability.
Amazon is making an investment between $250,000 (£170.81) and $500,000 in TrackR. The investment came through Amazon's $100m Alexa fund, which invests and supports technologies that help in strengthening Alexa's abilities, according to Reuters.
TrackR is the not the only company where Amazon has invested. The Seattle-headquartered company has made about 15 investments through Alexa including The Orange Chef and Garageio.
TrackR devices use replaceable batteries and are enabled with Bluetooth low energy to provide a 100ft range of connectivity. It uses Bluetooth to track lost items. If a user has lost an item, which is out of the Bluetooth's reach, a TrackR user can connect to that device to alert the owner about it.
Chris Herbert, co-founder of TrackR said, "The ability to bring on more partners and realize that you are building an entire ecosystem - I think that is what was really important for us."
Very much like what Apple's Siri and Google's Google Now do, Amazon's cloud-based voice service Alexa provides information, answer questions, plays music, reads news, checks scores and provides weather updates. The virtual assistant also controls Amazon Echo, the company's wireless speaker that connects to Alexa to perform a number of tasks.
But unlike Apple and Google that use the virtual assistant for their devices, Amazon's supports numerous devices to incorporate Alexa. At the CES 2016 event in Las Vegas, Amazon announced a partnership with Ford, as the car-maker seeks to explore linking of smart devices including Echo and Wink to its vehicles that will let users control lights, thermostats, security systems and other features of their home from their car.
Ford is exploring possibilities to use the Sync Connect technology to link vehicles with Alexa that would allow consumers to access their vehicles from within their home.