After seeing the clever Super Bowl LII commercial from Amazon, we’ve thought for a few minutes how great it would be if Alexa wouldn’t get triggered when she hears the word broadcasted.
Let’s say you’re watching a YouTube video or a commercial that includes ‘Alexa’ and triggers the device.
But Amazon had to find their own way to avoid such a misunderstanding so they’ve introduced acoustic fingerprinting.
In an Amazon blog post, the senior manager on the Alexa Machine Learning team, Shiv Vitaladevuni, said that they were trying to ‘suppress the unintentional waking of a device while not incorrectly rejecting the millions of people engaging with Alexa every day’.
Amazon’s Secret: Keeping Your Echo from Being Triggered By the TV
Amazon hasn’t detailed how they’d keep the Echo from triggering from advertisements like the one on the Super Bowl, but a Redditer – Asphyhackr, believes to have found the secret behind Amazon’s solution.
It seems that Echo is not processing the wake word if it’s as quiet as 4000hz to 5000hz. The ads from Amazon when saying her name have a range of 3000hz to 6000hz, so they won’t trigger the Echo. But what will it happen in other situations?
The Amazon blog post said that whenever ‘multiple devices start waking up simultaneously from a broadcast event, similar audio is streaming to Alexa’s cloud services.’ So, there is an algorithm in the Amazon’s cloud that will detect ‘matching audio from distinct devices’, preventing other devices from waking up and reacting.
Of course, the dynamic fingerprinting cannot fight all the incoming trigger words, so it will work on 80-90% devices.
But if you’re looking for an easier solution, a lot of users have advised us to just change the trigger word from ‘Alexa’ to another one that would only be rarely used. All you have to do is remember it!