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Amazon's Alexa Skills Kit to Fuel Technology Innovation

By CIOReview | Thursday, July 9, 2015

FREMONT, CA:  Amazon introduces the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), a collection of self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for developers to create new voice-driven skills and capabilities for Alexa with a few lines of code. Alexa is the brain behind Amazon Echo device, a small, internet-connected speaker that responds to voice requests.

Amazon says that by adding new skills to Alexa, developers can program it according to the popular demands of the customers. They can enable customers to add their voice to devices or apps to make it do what they need. Developers can create many interesting skills with Alexa Voice service like: a Wi-Fi alarm clock that will notify the customer when asked about how is the weather today? or what is the time?; a car that enables a driver to press the Alexa button on the steering wheel and request anything from Alexa, such as “Read my book”; a TV that makes finding tonight’s game simple by just saying the name of the particular program and many more.

The ASK includes a number of tools that begin with the Getting Started Guide, which provides developers some basic details and suggestions for how people might prefer to interact with Alexa; documents covering AWS Lambda and a Voice Design Handbook for best practices when designing voice-based UIs. The package also features code and syntax samples, reports Eric Zeman for Programmable Web. When a developer uses the Alexa Voice Service to integrate Alexa into their device, their product also gets the benefit of updated capabilities that are added to Alexa, thus constantly improving the device over time.

“Today, we’re excited to open up the Alexa Voice Service to any device maker that wants to add Alexa into their products—for free. We’ve made adding Alexa incredibly easy for developers—any device with a speaker, an Internet connection, and a microphone can integrate Alexa with just a few lines of code. From start-ups to established companies, we can’t wait to see how developers integrate Alexa,” said Greg Hart, Vice President, Amazon Echo and Alexa Voice Services.

The Alexa Fund--named for Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that powers Amazon Echo--provides up to $100Mn to support developers, manufacturers, and start-ups of all sizes who are creating unique and innovative experiences designed around the human voice.

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