The facts: There are already about 1,500 applications for Amazon's digital voice assistant on the market, and there will likely be a 50 percent increase in that number by the end of the Consumer Electronics Show this week.

What's next: Smart home appliances and items like refrigerators and televisions will increasingly use voice and speech recognition applications to connect with consumers, said Shawn BuBravac, chief economic for the Consumer Technology Association.

Prediction: DuBravac estimates the total number of voice-activated assistants sold to date will double in 2017.

Why it matters: Alexa is clearly Amazon's big bet to leverage the Internet of Things trend. It's quickly gaining ground by signing deals with major brands. Google is also looking to expand its own digital assistant, along with Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana. The race is on to become the dominant voice recognition provider, leading to inevitable advances on the artificial intelligence front.

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