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.
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.