The adverts are likely to be as big a talking point from this weekend’s Super Bowl as the football. Techcrunch reported on how Amazon stops those ads waking millions of Alexa’s across the country. The procedure is relatively simple if Amazon is producing the advert itself. If it isn’t, but “the audio of a request matches that of requests from at least two other customers, we identify it as a media event,” the company explained. So, come Super Bowl Sunday there should be no incidents like that South Park one.
With its own ads, the company adds a fingerprint of the audio, which is stored on-device. Given the Echo’s storage limitations, additional fingerprints are stored in the cloud, where the assistant can cross-check things before waking. The system generally works pretty well, though complications can occur in, say, a noisy environment (what Super Bowl party has ever been noisy, though?) in which case a longer clip is required to do its job.