Today, we are excited to announce the Alexa Connect Kit (Preview), or ACK. ACK is a new way for device makers to connect devices to Alexa without worrying about managing cloud services, writing an Alexa skill, or developing complex networking and security firmware. ACK enables device makers to make any device an Alexa-connected smart device. You can apply today to join the ACK preview.
With ACK, you pay for the hardware module and a low, upfront fee that covers your ongoing use of the ACK cloud service. ACK enables you to turn the ongoing and variable cost of managing your own cloud service into a fixed, one-time cost. ACK will also offer cloud extensibility options in addition to ACK cloud services for you to connect your device to your own mobile applications, your own cloud service, and third-party cloud services such as IFTTT. While you build and manage devices more quickly and economically, your customers enjoy Alexa control, Wi-Fi simple setup, and the Dash Replenishment Service. Leading device makers and consumer products companies including Procter & Gamble, Hamilton Beach, Tonly, and Midea are using ACK to develop smart devices. Amazon used ACK to build the new AmazonBasics Microwave, available for pre-order today.
No Cloud to Manage, No Alexa Skills to Create, Simplified Firmware Development
With ACK, you don’t need to manage cloud services, create an Alexa skill, or write complex connectivity and security firmware. Instead, you simply add an Amazon-managed ACK module to your device, connect it to your device’s microcontroller unit (MCU) over a serial interface, and add interface code to your device’s firmware to interpret control messages from the ACK module. To make the integration as easy as possible, the ACK development kit includes a sample MCU and sample code you can port to your device’s specific MCU. The module uses Wi-Fi to securely connect your device to Amazon-managed cloud services that provide Alexa control, Wi-Fi simple setup, Dash Replenishment Service, and all the device metrics and logs you need to manage devices in the field. With an ACK module on your device, you can focus on building great hardware.
Create High-Quality Alexa-Connected Devices for Your Customers
Simplifying your development process doesn’t mean compromising customer experience. ACK-based devices can take advantage of all the capabilities of the updated Smart Home Skill API (Preview), as well as Wi-Fi simple setup, and the Dash Replenishment Service. The ACK managed cloud service is built on AWS IoT, and meets the cloud reliability requirements for the Works with Alexa (WWA) certification program. After your device is certified, you can feature the WWA badge in the Amazon Smart Home Store and on product packaging, increasing customer confidence that your devices integrate seamlessly with Alexa.
Turn Cost Uncertainty into Cost Certainty
Instead of worrying about usage spikes and variable cloud costs, you pay for the hardware module and a low, upfront fee that covers your ongoing use of the ACK cloud service. ACK enables you to turn a previously ongoing and variable cost of managing your own cloud service into a fixed, one-time cost, enabling more certain business planning.
Extend Your Investment in ACK
In addition to ACK cloud services, ACK will offer options for you to add cloud extensibility points, enabling you to further enrich your customer experience. You can integrate not only with the ACK cloud service, but also with your mobile applications, your own cloud service, and third-party cloud services such as IFTTT. Learn more by applying for the ACK preview.
Get Started Quickly with the ACK Development Board
The ACK development board makes it easy to get started. ACK development is as simple as modeling your device’s features with corresponding Alexa capabilities and integrating lightweight interface code to interpret messages from the ACK module for your device. Basic devices like fans and smart plugs require as little as 50 lines of new code to handle Alexa directives. Using the included sample MCU and interface code, you can quickly prototype a device and, when you’re ready, port the implementation to your device’s MCU for testing and device production.
“We’ve been surprised at how easy it is to use the Alexa Connect Kit to prototype devices and create Alexa commands with just a few lines of code,” says Scott Tidey, Sr. Vice President, North American Sales and Marketing, Hamilton Beach. “We look forward to using the Alexa Connect Kit to reduce time to market for new product lines while simultaneously offering more of the features our consumers want.”
Apply to Join the ACK Preview
Learn more and apply today to join the Alexa Connect Kit (Preview). We can’t wait to see what you build.