Alexa is Amazon’s voice-enabled cloud based digital assistant. It’s meant to make our lives easier by doing everything we ask of it. If you happen to have the Alexa app installed on your phone and not know how it works, allow me to explain.
When you say something like ‘Alexa’ or ‘Hey Alexa,’ you’re actually talking to a computer program known as an artificial intelligence (AI). That’s right; Alexa is just like Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, and others. But rather than being tied to specific brands, Alexa can work with any brand of products. I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials where Alexa is telling us all kinds of things about ourselves and things like our shopping habits. She’s smart and knows what she’s talking about.
Well, that’s because she’s programmed to listen to millions of commands each day and learn from those experiences. And, if we ever forget a command, Alexa remembers. So, now, whether you want to play music or get directions, Alexa is always ready to help. Just open her app, give her a name, and start talking…or singing! You can even ask Alexa to turn off lights, adjust thermostats, check weather forecasts, control connected devices, and more. All you need to do is say “Alexa.”
What is Alexa Development?
Alexa Development Kit (SDK) enables developers to build voice-enabled apps for Amazon Echo devices, including the Echo smart speaker, Tap, Fire TV stick, and Kindle Fire tablets. Developers use the SDK to create applications that perform tasks using voice commands. Users interact with these apps just using their voices without touching any device.
When users say “Alexa” to invoke the app, they can ask questions, request information, control compatible devices, play music, add items to shopping lists, set alarms, make calls, stream content, and much more. Amazon provides two ways to get started developing apps to work with AWS services – the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and the Alexa Voice Service (AVS).
ASK is designed to help developers build skills for Alexa, while AVS supports third-party developers who want to integrate the capabilities of Alexa into their own apps or websites.
How Alexa Works?
Alexa is Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant that provides voice control over many devices including smart speakers, thermostats, lights, locks, cameras, and doorbells. In addition to controlling these household items, Amazon’s Alexa platform offers developers an API (application programming interface) that enables them to create their own apps that can respond to user commands.
Alexa Developers have access to tools, documentation, skill requests, community questions, forums, and webinars providing information about how to build skills and integrate Amazon Web Services. Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of APIs that help developers write robust and engaging software applications using speech recognition, text understanding, language generation, dialog management, natural language processing, session management, and application state recovery.
The ASK APIs provide developers with features such as text transcription, speech synthesis, intents, entities, slots, slot types, query parameters, session-based tokens, and device lifecycle events. These APIs allow developers to build custom voice experiences across various categories including shopping, home automation, utilities, entertainment, news, sports, weather, calendar, time, travel, food, healthcare, fitness, finance, games, education, and productivity.
How to learn Alexa Development?
- Learn how to develop your skill set Alexa skills are essentially voice-powered apps that let you interact with Amazon’s Echo devices. You might have heard about them before if you’ve read any news stories about smart home tech. Skills are basically apps that work with your Echo device, letting you do things like play music, control lights, or order groceries via text message. It’s not just the Echo devices either; you can use skills with any Alexa-enabled device. If you’re interested in developing your own skill, we’ll show you how to start.
- Get familiar with the SDK Amazon offers developers access to its Developer Kit (SDK), which contains everything they need to get started building their applications. The SDK provides tools like Amazon Lex, which lets you build conversational bots for your application. Amazon Lex will help make your app more engaging and intuitive to use. We’ll cover the basics of building experiences using Amazon Lex in this tutorial.
- Learn how to create an account and sign up for a developer program You don’t have to register for a developer program to build skills for your Echo devices. However, registering is free, and you may want to consider doing so. There are two types of developer programs:
Free Allows you to test out the platform without committing to a full year of service fees. Once you’re ready to move forward, you can choose to pay $39 per month to continue testing your skills.
Paid This plan includes a full year of services, including unlimited usage of the Alexa API.We recommend signing up for the paid plan since it gives you access to additional features, such as the ability to add custom intents to your Alexa requests. These intents allow you to provide additional information to users.