Voice is the most natural form of user interaction, and recent advancements in speech recognition are now enabling us to control our connected devices with speech. We believe that voice can simplify the modern lifestyle, providing us with a unifying interface across devices so we can be entertained, stay informed, and organize our lives by simply asking Alexa.
You don’t have to design a voice user interface, or VUI, when you use Alexa to control your smart devices; instead, you can use Alexa’s built-in smart home VUI. Using the built-in VUI makes your development easier, and makes adoption easier for customers. You and your customers will also benefit as we make improvements and add support for more languages.
You can connect smart devices to Alexa using the internet and a Smart Home Skill, using Echo Plus and ZigBee, or using a smart home hub. This gives you the flexibility to support nearly any customer scenario, from those buying their first smart home device to those expanding an existing configuration.
By integrating with Alexa, you can enable your customers to control your devices from any endpoint with Alexa built-in. Customers already own tens of millions of such endpoints, including Echo, Echo Show, and Fire TV, and a wide range of third party products built using the Alexa Voice Service.
You can simplify customer use of your devices with Alexa Routines and Groups. With Routines, customers can trigger a series of actions from one or more devices using a single voice command, or automatically by time of day. With Groups, customers can control the devices in the same room as an Echo device without remembering specific device names.
Your customers can ask Alexa to view live video feeds from your WiFi and wired smart home cameras on Echo Show and FireTV. Using the Smart Home Skill API, you can specify a variety of camera stream attributes, including protocol, resolution, authorization type, and codecs. See Build Smart Home Camera Skills for more information.
You can enable voice control of smart TVs, receivers, and other entertainment devices including inputs, channels, and speakers. With playback controls, you can also enable customers to fast forward, rewind, and pause. See Build Smart Home Skills for Entertainment Devices for more information.
You can allow customers to turn smart lights on and off, change the brightness of lights, and specify colors and color temperatures using Alexa. See Build Smart Home Skills for Lighting Devices for more information.
Alexa can check the state of door locks, and lock them for your customers. You can choose whether to respond to lock requests synchronously or asynchronously, depending on, among other factors, how fast your device can complete the request. See the Smart Home Skills for Door Locks for more information.
You can enable customers to use Alexa to control thermostat settings and to report current temperatures. The Smart Home Skill API supports single, dual, and triple setpoint thermostats, as well as mode query and control. See Build Smart Home Skills for Thermostats for more information.
In addition to using Alexa interfaces specifically designed to enable control of smart home cameras, entertainment devices, lights, locks, and thermostats, you can control other smart home devices using broadly applicable primitives: for example, you can use power control interface for turning nearly any smart device on or off, and the percentage control interface for setting intensity or speed. For the full set of control messages, see the Smart Home Skill API message reference.
“Giving customers the ability to control everything in their living room with their voice—including TVs, gaming consoles, sound systems, and even smart lights—lets them take their entertainment to a whole new level,” says Chris Wood, Product Manager for Voice Solutions.
“Working with Alexa has been a big request from our neighbors (what we call our customers),” says Darrell Sommerlatt, Software Engineer. Now, Ring customers can ask Alexa to show them their front door, and can see their video feed on their Echo Show.
Big Ass Fans (BAF) felt voice was definitely the user interface of the future. BAF customers can simply say, "Alexa, turn up the fan" to control their smart ceiling fan—no wall switch or mobile app required.