Amazon might not have been prepared for a large number of new Echo devices registering on the Christmas day. Thousands of people in Europe who plugged in their smart home speaker could not properly connect to the company’s server that handled user requests through its virtual assistant, Alexa.
@amazon seems that your servers weren’t ready for the massive influx of new Echo’s being registered today. When the waiting list for new Dot’s is 2 months you’d have thought the geek squad would have been prepared. #alexa pic.twitter.com/sJCY5TXG1l
— Dan Green (@dangreen2805) December 25, 2018
It was not clear whether Amazon’s Alexa Voice Services (AVS) servers handling Alexa requests treated the genuine requests from its customers as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. Many customers were acknowledged with the prompt, “Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding you right now.”
The way Amazon Echo works is by taking customer requests via its digital assistant, Alexa, and forwarding the request to the company’s server. An Amazon AVS server interprets the customer request, and resultant commands are directed to a customer Echo device which executes tasks based on the AVS commands. You can make your Amazon Echo turn on your smart bulb, get answers to your queries, play your favorite song, or read out today’s weather forecast.
The Guardian reported that Amazon customers started experiencing Alexa down around 10 am GMT when their requests hit the wall. At around noontime, Amazon Europe acknowledged the service outage with a tweet.
I'm sorry for the trouble! Some Echo devices in Europe had intermittent connections. These issues have now been resolved and the Alexa Service is working normally. Please let us know if it's still giving you trouble. ^BH
— Amazon Help (@AmazonHelp) December 25, 2018
The surge in Amazon Echo use corresponds to the increase in Alexa app downloads in the Google PlayStore on Christmas. You need Alexa app on your smartphone to setup Amazon Echo for the first time.