Amazon Echo and how Skills will revolutionize your home

Amazon just keeps on adding more features to the Amazon Alexa device, the recent of which has brought more support to the smarthome connected products, along with other new third-party compatible apps support for Amazon Echo skills.

First up, Amazon Alexa or Echo can now work with smart lights from Lightify, Leviton and Philips Hue. Amazon added this support feature for Wink controlled products in July and the extension to Lightify and Leviton going other compatible devices and hubs from Belkin, WeMo and much more.

Another big update of this device is an early look at the third-party Echo skills that are new in the market.  StubHub, Crystal Ball and Math Puzzles are the first three you can now check out. After enabling the skills in the Amazon Alexa app, you will now be able to ask questions like ‘Alexa, what is happening in Seattle this weekend, ask StubHub’, to stay updated with the nearby events.

Amazon Alex also provides a number of built in capabilities and skills. Some examples of Echo skills device is its ability to play music from multiple different providers, providing weather forecast information, answering general knowledge questions, setting a timer or an alarm, query Wikipedia and much more. The Amazon Echo kills kit lets you add new skills and capabilities to the device. In this way, customers can now access new abilities by asking Alexa different questions or by making requests.

When building and designing a skill using the Echo skills kit, you are defining intents that a user invokes with his or her voice. You can make use of Alexa cloud feature that accepts user interactions in the form of requests and then acts upon them.  Remember, you do not have do any handling yourself, the Alexa cloud service will also take care of the language and parsing issues.

It is very easy to get started and compatible with the Alexa skills kit, the reviewing the materials in the below mentioned order:

  • Start by going through the ‘Getting Started Guide’, which will guide you how to interact with Alexa skill.
  • Go through the AWS Lambda Documentations.
  • For best practices with the voice use interface review the Voice design handbook feature.
  • To know more about the syntax and style of the requests that will be sent to your device, check out the Alexa Skills Interface Reference.
  • For a sample code, review the reference skills.
  • Tests you new skill with Amazon Echo.
  • Make a free account and register you skill with the developer portal.

To pull all these new features off, Amazon is investing around $100 million to support the manufacturers, developing and start ups of all types who are creating innovative and unique experiences designed around the human voice by the Alexa Fund.  Whether it is about creating new capabilities of Alexa using the Alexa skill kit or building devices that use the voice f Alexa, or something entirely different, if someone has a visionary idea, Alexa Fund can help them out.