Amazon Adds New Improvements to Alexa Voice Service

Amazon has released new improvements to its Alexa Voice Service (AVS) allowing developers to incorporate additional voice-enabled capabilities into any connected product. Alexa is the voice-activated intelligent assistant that powers Amazon Echo. Amazon released a developer preview of AVS last year that includes a set of RESTful APIs and other tools developers can use to integrate Alexa capabilities with connected devices and applications.

The Petnet App features voice-activated capabilities powered by Alexa.

AVS allows developers to integrate Alexa capabilities with connected devices, including built-in skills and skills created by other developers. A few examples of Alexa voice-enabled skills are basic question answering, playing music, and setting alarms or timers. Amazon encourages developers to create new and innovative voice-enabled skills for Alexa and has created the Alexa Fund which provides up to $100M in investments to help drive the innovation, creation, and adoption of voice technologies.

The Alexa Fund has already invested in a number of companies, each providing different types of voice-activated devices and applications. Companies leveraging Alexa capabilities and have received support from the Alexa Fund include:

  • Petnet – Company provides an app-driven automatic feeder for cats and dogs called SmartFeeder. Customers can use the voice-activated assistant to ask specific questions about their pets feeding activities and manage other aspects of pet feeding.
  • Musaic – Company provides a Smart HiFi system that allows music to be played in every room of a home as well as on a tablet, smartphone, PC, and other connected devices. The company is working on adding capabilities so that users can control the music system using voice-activated commands.
  • Mojio – Company provides a number of connected-car applications and has created an ecosystem of Mojio–compatible, third-party applications for connected cars. The company has incorporated Alexa capabilities into applications to allow drivers to use voice-activated commands for asking car-specific questions and for controlling connected-car smartphone applications.

The latest release of AVS includes a number of new features such as voice/button-activated volume control, voice/button-activated media playback control, and voice-activated timers and alarms. The new improvements to AVS also include updated APIs, server-initiated message capabilities, and Alexa App enhancements including iOS and Android support.

Developers interested in integrating Alexa voice-enabled capabilities with connected devices and applications can find more information on the Amazon Alexa website.

Janet Wagner is a freelance technical writer and contributor to ProgrammableWeb covering breaking news, in-depth analysis, and product reviews. She specializes in creating well-researched, in-depth content about APIs, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, analytics, GIS/maps, and other advanced technologies.