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July 30, 2018Brian Crum
We are excited to announce proactive discovery and endpoint management, an addition to the Alexa Discovery APIs that allows customers to seamlessly update and maintain their devices and scenes with less direct interaction. Proactive discovery and endpoint management keep a customer's Alexa account synchronized with their device’s applications. Once customers enable the associated smart home skill, Alexa will automatically find any newly added devices, update any devices that were renamed, and remove any devices that were deleted from the device's application.
For example, customers who have enabled the TP-LINK Kasa skill no longer have to say, "Alexa, discover my devices," or use the Alexa App to connect their new smart plug added to the Kasa App to Alexa. Once the new plug is setup in the Kasa App, customers can start using Alexa to control the new plug immediately by asking or using the Alexa App.
Proactive discovery improves smart device interoperability by reducing the customer effort needed to connect devices to Alexa. Previously, customers would enable their device's skill in the Alexa App, add their device to the device’s application, link their account to Alexa, and then ask Alexa to “discover” the new device. With proactive discovery and endpoint management, you can enable customers to skip the discovery step and populate their devices directly to Alexa. Once a customer enables your skill, you can send information about the customer's devices directly to Alexa. Additionally, whenever a customer updates or deletes the device, they no longer have to “discover” those changes, since you proactively push those changes to Alexa and the customer sees any changes reflected in their Alexa App.
With proactive discovery and endpoint management you can report new devices, updates, and deletes through the event gateway. Not only does this help the initial customer experience of new device discovery, it also discovers any modifications to previously discovered endpoints. To implement this feature, you must properly notify Alexa of additions, updates, or deletions to a customer’s devices. You enable this by sending proactive discovery events that implement two new messages in the Alexa.Discovery namespace to let Alexa know about the changes. These proactive discovery messages are sent to the Alexa Inbound Event endpoint with a valid access token. This is the same method to respond asynchronously to Alexa directives and send state change events.
The proactive discovery APIs are available today in all locales, and we encourage all device makers to adopt them as soon as possible. To get started, review the technical documentation about how to proactively manage endpoints and how to send events to the Alexa event gateway.
We can't wait to see what you build.