Editor's note: We updated this blog on April 25th, 2019 to remove the ability to sign up for the developer preview of skill connections. The beta is closed to new participants.
Today we are excited to announce skill connections (preview) for all current Alexa locales. You can use skill connections (preview) to do more for your customers – including printing and scheduling taxis and restaurants – using functionality provided by other skills. Your customers will not have to invoke the other skills, and you will only have to make minimal code changes to your own skills.
Developer Preview Includes Skills from HP, Uber, OpenTable, and Allrecipes
There are five types of connections available in the developer preview:
- Print <Image>
- Print <PDF>
- Print <WebPage>
- Schedule <FoodEstablishmentReservation>
- Schedule <TaxiReservation>
For the developer preview, printing is provided by a skill from HP, food reservations are provided by OpenTable, and taxi reservations are provided by Uber. Epson and Canon plan to provide print services soon. If you are accepted into the preview, you can send requests for any of these actions from within your skill, and Alexa will automatically route the request to the right service provider. For example, if you have a gaming skill, you could offer to print game results or an all-time leaderboard. If you have a skill that sells last-minute show tickets using Amazon Pay, you could offer to book a taxi to the show, or a café spot for after-show dessert. Allrecipes connects to HP today in order to print recipes for customers.
Skill Connections Simplify Interactions for Customers
When you use skill connections, you can pass useful information to the other skill with the request. For example, if your skill sells last-minute show tickets, you can pass the theatre address and show time as part of the taxi reservation request. This eliminates the need for the customer to copy the theatre address from your skill, separately invoke the taxi skill, and verbally repeat the address for the taxi skill. If your skill connection request requires a skill the customer has not used before, Alexa will offer to enable it for the customer.
“Adding printing capability enhances our skill’s overall experience for consumers. Now home cooks can easily print the recipes they want using the Allrecipes skill on Alexa, all within the same conversation,” says Corbin de Rubertis, VP of Innovation, Meredith Digital.
“We are excited to work with Amazon as the first print company to provide the capability for customers to print from any skill. Skill connections will enable developers to create more engaging experiences by offering the ability to print, where and when it makes sense for customers,” says Tami Beach, Senior Director, Print Strategic Alliances at HP.