Create a Smarter Home with Alexa

Introducing the Smart Home Skill API


It’s easy and free for developers to use the Smart Home Skill API to connect Alexa to hubs and devices for both public and personal use. Get Started »

Create a custom smart home skill for your brand

If you want to go beyond lights and thermostats, you can create a custom skill to define your own voice experiences for smart home using the Alexa Skills Kit. Create a custom skill »

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How do I get started with the Smart Home Skill API?

Start by reading the Smart Home Skill API documentation, which details how to connect your device to our built-in smart home skills.


What is the difference between the “Smart Home Skill” and “Custom Skill” skill type?

With custom skills, you build a voice interaction model to handle customer requests. With the Smart Home Skill API, some of this work is done for you. The Smart Home Skill API taps into Amazon’s standardized language model so you don’t have to build the voice interaction model for your smart home skill. Plus, your customers don’t need to remember your skill name or a specific invocation phrase.


What can customers do with the Smart Home Skill API today?

The Smart Home Skill API currently supports lights, switches, smart plugs and thermostats, including turning devices on and off, dimming lights and thermostat controls. Today, your customers can:

  • Turn their devices on or off: “Alexa, turn on/off the kitchen light” or “Alexa, turn on/off the heat”
  • Brighten or dim their lights: “Alexa, brighten the kitchen light” or “Alexa, dim the kitchen light.”
  • Set lights or temperature: “Alexa, set the kitchen light to 50%” or “Alexa, set the heat to 72 degrees”


What does my device need to integrate with the Smart Home Skill API?

You can add Alexa controls to any cloud-connected device using the Smart Home Skill API.


Would I ever create both a smart home skill and a custom skill?

Yes. If you want to add additional supported utterances or go beyond lights and thermostats, you can also create a custom skill.


Can I control devices other than lights and thermostats?

The Smart Home Skill API currently supports extending Alexa’s built-in lighting and thermostat skills, covering natural language actions for these types of devices. While the intended use for the thermostat is for heating scenarios our developer partners can use the on/off/set and request capabilities for other types of sensors. As an example, you could enable “Alexa, turn on my fan.”


What other features will you add to the Smart Home Skill API?

We plan to expand the Smart Home Skill API to include more device types over time.


Do I have to use AWS Lambda to create a Smart Home skill?

Yes. You’ll configure your adapter using an AWS Lambda function.


What languages are supported?

We currently support JavaScript, Java and Python.


What is required to build a skill adapter with the Smart Home API?

To build a skill adapter with the Smart Home API, you connect to your cloud-controlled device via an API. A skill adapter is a means to relay discovery and control commands from Alexa to a device control cloud. To do so, Alexa acts as an OAuth client, and requests resources (typically device information for a particular customer) from the device control cloud. To facilitate this, when creating a skill adapter you will need to provide information about your OAuth server information so the user of the application can grant permissions for Alexa to retrieve device information, which will then be used to control those devices.


Can I build a skill adapter and use it for my personal home automation system?

Yes. Smart home enthusiasts who have coding experience are encouraged to build skill adapters for personal use. Just follow the steps to create a skill and use it on your Alexa-enabled device.


How do I make my adapter accessible to all Alexa customers?

Once you complete development and testing as described above you apply for certification of your skill. Once the skill passes certification you will receive notification and it will be available in our skills marketplace.


Do I have to implement OAuth to use the Smart Home Skill API?

Yes. The Smart Home Skill API is designed to provide secure control of cloud-connected home automation devices. It uses OAuth to enable customers to securely link their Amazon account used for Alexa with your cloud service.