Amazon is working on eliminating the need to use Alexa Skills, voice commands for triggering actions, according to online media outlets.
When users want to order a Pizza via voice, they now need to say “Domino’s Pizza” to activate the skill and start the voice ordering process. However, there are more than 50,000 skills on the Alexa platform. It isn’t very user-friendly to have users call upon each skill every time they have queries. Amazon wants to save the efforts.
The development objective is eliminating the need to activate skills. For instance, when the user says “Get me a car to the airport,” Alexa will check the user’s location, subscriptions and services used in the past and determine to call an Uber, Lyft or other car-sharing service.
“We don’t want Alexa to be like your smartphone, where you have fifty apps on your home screen. The way we’re solving that is that you’ll just speak, and we will find the most relevant skill that can answer your query,” said Rohit Prasad, vice president and head scientist of Alexa at Amazon, in an interview with Tom’s Guide.
Amazon hopes, in the near future, users won’t need to talk to Alexa like shouting some orders, and can talk like they would a natural conversation. To that end, Amazon also introduced the Follow-Up Mode back in March, which lets users make multiple voice requests without saying “Alexa” before each command.
The work on eliminating the need to call on Alexa skills is still in the early stage and Alexa’s scientists need to tackle many challenges, said Prasad. It is not easy to understand the whole context through voice orders only. For example, “get me a car” can mean both to get a taxi or to buy a car.
Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant, may get the ability to engage in the similar natural conversation. The South Korean company showcased a smarter version of Bixby in August while announcing its smart speaker the Galaxy Home. For example. A command like “buy a ticket” will trigger purchase actions on Ticketmaster, and “how to get to the nearest supermarket” will lead to the navigation feature in Google Maps.
The voice assistant learns users’ habits over time as well. For example, when asking for restaurant reservation, Bixby will recommend some restaurants based on the users’ booking history and put in the number of people and the dining time based on prior bookings in the same restaurant.