14 Dhu al-Qi'dah 1444 - 3 June 2023
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Eye of Riyadh
Technology & IT | Thursday 9 March, 2023 3:11 pm |

Revealed: Amazon Alexa’s most-asked question in Saudi Arabia was about prayer time

  • Saudis are among the most-engaged Alexa customers worldwide 
  • One year since it launched in Saudi Arabia, nearly half of Alexa customers now have 13 smart devices connected to Alexa in their homes
  • Ramadan was the month with the greatest engagement for Alexa; with the customer interacting with Alexa on average more than ten times a day

Just one year after being launched in December 2021, Alexa in Khaleeji Arabic has become a reliable companion in the Kingdom with hyper-localised experiences for customers in Saudi across spirituality, Smart Home, music, entertainment, gaming, and more. 


Saudi customers responded positively to Alexa, resulting in the Kingdom being propelled into one of the top marketplaces globally for customers using Smart Home features via Alexa. Nearly half of Alexa customers now have at least 13 smart devices connected to Alexa in their homes. 


Ramadan was the busiest month for Amazon Alexa with the average customer interacting with Alexa ten times a day, including requests to play the Quran and asking for iftar and imsak time. The most-consumed news was on Al Arabiya News, followed by Thamaniya, and the most popular game was Akinator.


"When is the next prayer time?” and “Alexa, play Surah Al Baqara” were the top two requests to Alexa in 2022. Saudi customers also loved asking Alexa to perform calculations  addition and subtraction. This was followed by geography-focused questions on capitals and world populations.   


Dr. Raf Fatani, Regional General Manager, Alexa, Amazon MENA said: “It’s been one year of evolution and learning. We launched Alexa in Saudi Arabia with the ability to understand all Khaleeji dialects, Modern Standard Arabic or Fus’ha, in addition to launching the International US English experience.”


He added: “Over the past year, we have worked on delivering a truly localised experience to our customers by building an authentically Saudi personality – one that can talk of cultural and local affairs, appreciates local customs, and even differentiates between different Saudi regional traditions. We look forward to offering more unique features, and partnering with regional and global brands to delight our customers.”


Alexa teamed up with local businesses and service providers to offer greater convenience for Saudi customers. They can track a ride using Careem, get recipes and cook along instructions with Fatafeat, track food orders through Jahez, catch up on news with Thamaniya, listen to music with the Anghami and Spotify, or listen to the radio with the MBC FM, and more. We will continue to support the developer community is continuing to add more skills will be added in the Arabic language in the coming year.




For the Kingdom, by the Kingdom


Notably, the Alexa hyper localised experience has been shaped up by an all-Saudi team that is based out of Riyadh hailing from diverse backgrounds and regions. 




Spiritually focused features


Alexa developed three unique spiritual features for Saudi customers – reciting Quran, prayer reminders and Hijri calendar support. Alexa also offered access to highly nuanced Arabic original content that includes local poetry,  stories, proverbs, and  custom ‘music’ scores were created for recordings to stay true to the storytelling form in Arabic. Customers also enjoyed a more inclusive experience as Alexa understands all Khaleeji dialects and Fus’ha, in addition to the other Arabic dialects.




Community-driven engagement


Alexa created programs that mattered to the community throughout the year including Year of Saudi Coffee, Deed of the Day during Ramadan, profiling #ArabExcellence, and how-to tutorials for third-culture kids on traditions and greetings. Alexa engaged and worked with the local creative community, including musicians, producers and artists. This includes archival chants from Saudi in the 70s, oud players playing custom tunes especially for Alexa and recite traditional poetry and local stories.


Dr. Raf Fatani concluded: “Our focus has been on making our Saudi customers’ lives more enjoyable and productive. We look forward to keeping on  learning and growing our engagement with the community. As we say at Amazon, it’s always Day One, and I remain excited for what the future of voice AI will bring to the Kingdom to support Vision 2030 and beyond. It’s real, tangible and brings the future here and right now to our Saudi customers.”


To celebrate Alexa’s first birthday in Saudi Arabia, Amazon is offering its customer in the Kingdom the chance to upgrade their homes with the latest Echo devices at a discounted price of up to 40%. Starting from March 9th, customers can avail themselves of these amazing deals which include the Echo Dot 5th Gen (now at SAR 139.88), the Echo Dot with Clock 5th Gen (now at SAR 189.99), and the Echo Show 8 (now at SAR 389); these deals can be accessed directly through amazon.sa. 


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