Amazon announced Alexa Voice Service (AVS), the cloud-based voice service that powers Amazon Echo, a new category of device designed around your voice. Hardware developers can use the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to integrate Alexa into their Internet-connected devices with only a few lines of code. No experience with natural language understanding or speech recognition is required.
Amazon also introduced 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, developers can easily integrate existing web services with Alexa or, in just a few hours, they can build entirely new experiences designed around voice. For example, an Internet-connected sprinkler system can integrate its sprinklers with Alexa, so a customer can say, “Alexa, ask my sprinkler to water my lawn for 15 minutes.”
The free Alexa Voice Service will be available as a developer preview starting next month. Developer preview starts next month.
Examples of what developers can create with the Alexa Voice Service include:
- A Wi-Fi alarm clock that lets a customer talk to Alexa—“What’s the weather today?” or “What’s on my calendar today?”
- 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” or “Remind me to pick up flowers after work.”
- A movie ticket machine that lets a moviegoer say “Buy six tickets for the next showing of Jurassic World.”
- A countertop weather station that enables customers to get more information by asking “What will the weather be next weekend?” or “What was the rainfall in June last year?”
- A TV that makes finding tonight’s game simple—just pick up the remote and say “Turn on the baseball game.”
- A home sound system that lets customers turn on music just by saying “Play my barbeque playlist on the back deck.”
Alexa is the brain behind Amazon Echo, a new category of device designed around your voice. Echo is hands-free and always on—ask for information, music, news, weather, and more from across the room and get results or answers instantly. Alexa is built in the cloud and leverages AWS to continue to learn and add functionality over time—in the last seven months Alexa has added Pandora, Audible, traffic, sports scores and schedules, control of connected devices like WeMo and Philips Hue, IFTTT, and more. 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.
Here are a few of the hardware makers who are using AVS to integrate Alexa into their products:
- Wink, the quick and simple way to connect you and the products you rely on in the home, is using AVS to enable customers to control and monitor their connected home using only their voice. “Amazon is helping us create an even more simple and intuitive way to control your smart home—with your voice,” said Nathan Smith, CTO of Wink. “By integrating Alexa into our platform, customers will be able to manage their home—everything from turning on lights, locking doors, controlling temperature, and opening blinds—just by asking. We see huge potential and are excited to make the smart home even more accessible.”
- Scout Alarm, a new breed of home security that customers can install and manage themselves, is using AVS to enable customers to manage their home security using voice. “We’re thrilled to use the Alexa Voice Service to integrate Alexa with Scout to support voice control capabilities,” said Dave Shapiro, CTO at Scout. “Alexa opens new ways for our customers to interact with their security system—ways not yet seen in our industry. By simply speaking to Alexa as they leave the home, customers can arm their system, or remotely check in on the security of their home using voice commands. Advanced home security has never been this simple, easy or available to more people; we are excited that Scout customers get to experience the convenience of Alexa.”
- Toymail, the creator of Wi-Fi connected toys that send and receive voice messages for families, is using AVS to enable families to exchange voice messages using Alexa. “Toymail creates toys that help families stay connected with loved ones, without more screen time,” said Gauri Nanda, Co-Founder of Toymail. “Using Alexa Voice Service, Toymail customers can use their voice, in addition to our mobile app, to deliver fun messages and content to family members anywhere, anytime. For example, a dad can ask Alexa from the kitchen ‘Tell Ben: ten more minutes before dinner.’ And, we’re excited to add Alexa to our Mailman toys—just say ‘Alexa, read a story’ and the family can enjoy a bedtime audiobook together via the Mailman’s speakers.’”