When it comes to in-home voice assistants, there are two clear leaders: Amazon and Google. Both of these Big Five technology companies offer a variety of options from either the Google Home or Amazon Echo product lines. Now that both of these product lines are well established, we are beginning to see third parties start to take advantage of the fact that nearly 25% of households in America have an in-home assistant. Most of these companies are developing apps that utilize the in-home speakers to allow for hands free use. Is it time Amazon and Google start to consider making acquisitions of these companies for more seamless integration?
One example of a company that Google and Amazon should be considering is Frontive Inc. Based in Los Angeles, the biotech/health startup company is using the Amazon Alexa® platform to create a virtual assistant in an effort to “make health management easier for patients and families.” Although still in the testing stages of development, the in-home assistant is capable of providing assistance with medical questions, creating daily reminders for medication, reading doctor's instructions, sharing lab results, and even contacting doctors with simple voice commands. The devices are HIPAA compliant, and will still have all of the other functions typically included with the Amazon Alexa®, as well as an app that allows the user to update the system when they are on the go.
Presently, Frontive has a smaller portfolio consisting of two patents and two applications. It is not entirely clear whether Frontive is selling modified Amazon Alexa’s, or whether any existing Alexa® will suffice. It is also unclear about what type of agreement (if any) Frontive has made with Amazon for the smart assistant. However, as telemedicine continues to grow, this technology certainly has the potential to become more widespread over the next few years. If Amazon or Google have any desire to gain an entrance into the Telemedicine field, Frontive could be a great starting point. Make sure to check out the AI Biotech/Diagnostic Patent Forecast® to see what other companies have similar technology that may be of interest to Google or Amazon.