Last year, HP Inc. became the first company to enable voice commands into its printers via smart home speaker platforms, with its launch of voice control capabilities for Google Home and Microsoft Cortana. This past week, the company announced it was further building out this capability by adding Amazon.com’s Alexa to its roster. This announcement comes on the heels of CES 2018, where we saw HP and everybody who’s anybody in the consumer electronics space unveil and demonstrate a host of new products, many in the smart home and home automation sectors. For more on what’s going on in this area, see our home automation analyst Mark Vena’s write-up on the event). I see voice control for printers as an obvious extension of the current smart home trend and glad HP Inc. made it happen. The experience is not ideal or complete, but it is a good start.
HP Inc.’s new voice-activated printing capabilities now extend to the three current top dog smart home speaker platforms—Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Home. All you have to do is say “Alexa, print my shopping List…” “Hey Cortana, ask HP Printer for help…” or “Ok Google, print my Google Calendar to…”. The available content varies somewhat across the three different platforms. You can use voice commands to print some useful things—shopping lists, calendars, Sudoku puzzles, blank graph paper, to name a few. I am sure these capabilities will continue to expand over time—frankly, they must if this is going to truly be a useful service. It is still in the early stages, but it has got much potential.
To make voice commands even more useful, I would love to see HP extend it to printer troubleshooting and setup with a natural back and forth between user and printer. I think this would address many of the printing headaches people have. Now that would be a truly intelligent assistant.