Today’s guest post comes from Michael Garcia, EMEA Solutions Architect at AWS. In this post, we'll discuss how you can voice-control any physical devices using Alexa.
The Internet of Things
Amazon Echo and Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) are enabling developers to create new experiences with voice-enabled applications. It is a really natural interface to interact with the physical world around us. The new Smart Home Skill API enables you to quickly create Alexa skills to control connected devices for the home, like lights and thermostats, from the cloud. What about controlling other types of devices from the cloud?
That is what the Internet Of Things (IoT) is all about. Today we are going to see how you can connect and control any device using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform and Alexa Skills Kit. We’ll start with some basics around AWS IoT, a managed service that will enable you to connect securely your objects to the AWS platform. We’ll create a representation of our physical device and then we’ll see how we can create a new skill to voice control our object from the cloud. If this is the first time you are creating an Alexa skill, I highly recommend you build a trivia skill or create a fact skill. Both blog posts provide step-by-step tutorials so you can build a skill in under an hour and learn the end-to-end process of creating a skill with AWS Lambda.
For those who already have a physical device and want to connect it to AWS IoT, you can consult the quickstart documentation for AWS IoT to easily get started by using the AWS SDKs and sending data to the Cloud.
To start, we’ll use a very simple industrial use case to make things feel more concrete. Imagine that you’re a developer who needs to develop a skill so that an operator in an industrial facility could control a water pump remotely with his voice. To achieve that we will focus on the Alexa Skills Kit and we will simulate having a physical device (the water pump) so everyone can perform the steps described below. We are assuming that the reader also has prior knowledge of the AWS Platform. To get up to speed, feel free to visit the AWS training section.
We will provide you with a glimpse of how to use Alexa and the AWS platform so you can create your own voice-enabled IoT application later.
AWS IoT: Creating a ‘Thing’ Which Will Represent a Physical Device
AWS IoT is a managed cloud platform that lets connected devices easily and securely interact with cloud applications and other devices. AWS IoT can support billions of devices and trillions of messages, and can process and route those messages to AWS endpoints and to other devices reliably and securely. With AWS IoT, your applications can keep track of and communicate with all your devices, all the time – even when they aren’t connected.
AWS IoT makes it easy to use other AWS services with built-in integration so you can build value-added IoT applications that gather, process, analyze and act on data generated by connected devices, without having to manage any infrastructure.