This past summer we launched the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), a collection of self-service APIs and tools that made it fast and easy for you to create new voice-driven capabilities for Alexa. Alexa is the same cloud-based voice service that now powers Amazon Echo, Amazon Fire TV and Stick. Thanks to you, there are currently over 120+ Alexa skills available across Alexa enabled devices. The Alexa Skills Kit has had many new features added since launch, many of which were based directly on your feedback. As we continue to evolve Alexa in 2016 we look forward to hearing your feedback!
Here is a look back at helpful Alexa posts on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog in 2015:
Alexa Skills Kit Updates
Announcing New Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Features: Voice Simulator and Yes, No, Repeat and StartOver Built-In Intents
We announced a new Voice Simulator that you can use to create SSML (Speech Synthesis Markup Language) without having to make calls to your Alexa skill or the need for an Alexa device. This new tool will let you experiment with SSML speech tags and then immediately hear how Alexa will say them.
Announcing New Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Features: SSML Audio Tags and Developer Portal Updates
We are excited to announce some Alexa Developer Portal updates and new SSML (Speech Synthesis Markup Language) audio tag support. All of these updates are available for you to use immediately within your own Alexa skills.
Announcing New Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Features: Built-In Intents and Slot Type for US Cities
We announced the launch of three highly requested features as built-in intents for use with your own skills: help, stop, and cancel. We’re also adding a new Amazon slot type for US cities.
Announcing New Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Features: Custom Slot Types and Speech Synthesis Markup Language Support
We are excited to announce two new Alexa Skills Kit features have been made available for you to use immediately within your own Alexa skills. This update gives you the ability to create custom slots and values for items that are not covered by Amazon’s built-in slot types as well as added support for Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML). SSML allows you to control how Alexa generates speech from your skill’s text responses.
Announcing New Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Features: Account Linking and Service Simulator
We launched two new Alexa Skills Kit features: Account Linking and Service Simulator. Account Linking allows customers to easily link their accounts with yours and the Service Simulator makes it simple to test your skill directly from the developer console.
Tips and Education
Top Tips: Create Engaging Alexa Skills Your Users Will Love
This post combines feedback and best practices from Dave Isbitski’s learnings, our Alexa voice design experts, and countless others who have given feedback and input (including many Echo customers) on the types of interactions that work best.
Free Alexa Video Training from AWS re:Invent 2015
We announced that all of the Alexa sessions from AWS re:Invent 2015 are now available online.
Tips for Using Login with Amazon in Alexa Connected Home (CoHo) Skills
We walked through how to set up your own Connected Home (CoHo) enabled device for use with Alexa.
Creating an Amazon Echo Adventure Game with the Alexa Skills Kit
We shared experiences creating a voice based adventure game for Echo using the Alexa Skills Kit. Dialogue is the User Experience for voice based games and so it is where you will spend most of your time when designing the game interactions.
An Introduction to the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK)
We shared an introduction to the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), a collection of self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for you to create new voice-driven capabilities for Alexa. Alexa is the same cloud-based voice service that powers Amazon Echo. With a few lines of code, you can easily integrate existing web services with Alexa or, in just a few hours, you can build entirely new experiences designed around voice.
Free Video Training - An Introduction to Amazon Echo and the Alexa Skills Kit
We published a free 38 minute video that introduces you to the capabilities of the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) using an Amazon Echo device and walks through building your own Skills for Alexa. The Alexa Skills Kit is a collection of self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for you to create new voice-driven capabilities for Alexa.
What’s for Dinner: Hands-Free in the Kitchen with Campbell Soup
Campbell’s Kitchen launched their Alexa skill in October 2015. Based on their customer research, Campbell’s knew that customers wanted help with a simple question – what should I make for dinner?
Announcing Automatic Alexa Skill Publication
We announced automatic publishing for any of your Alexa skills that have passed certification. This update makes it quicker and easier for you to add new voice capabilities to Alexa that customers can begin to enable with their own Alexa devices.
New Alexa Episode on the AWS Podcast
In the latest episode of the AWS Podcast, Chief AWS Evangelist Jeff Barr and I talked about Amazon Alexa, the Alexa Skills Kit and creating new skills with the AWS Lambda compute service.
First Alexa Third-Party Skills Now Available for Amazon Echo
We announced that some of the first Alexa skills created by third party developers are now available to Amazon Echo customers.
Introducing the New Alexa Lighting API
We announced the Alexa Lighting API. This new API allows commercial developers, hobbyists, and connected home enthusiasts to teach Alexa how to control their cloud-controlled devices in just a few hours.
Alexa Voice Service Now Available in Developer Preview
The free Alexa Voice Service (AVS), the same service that powers Amazon Echo, is now available in developer preview to hobbyists and hardware makers who want to integrate Alexa into their connected devices. AVS enables your customers to speak to Alexa through the microphone on your device and Alexa will respond through the device’s speakers.
Announcing the Alexa Skills Kit Knowledge Base
To help jumpstart your Alexa Skills Kit development we have created a knowledge base of answers to top questions posted in our Alexa Skills Kit forums. If you are just starting out, this list is a great place to get quick answers to common questions around building Alexa skills you may have.
Introducing the Alexa Skills Kit, Enabling Developers to Create Entirely New Voice Driven Capabilities
We announced the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), a collection of self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for you to create new voice-driven capabilities for Alexa. Alexa is the cloud-based voice service that powers Amazon Echo, a new category of device designed around your voice.
Announcing the Alexa Voice Service (AVS)
We announced that the Alexa Voice Service (AVS), the same service that powers Amazon Echo, is coming soon to third party hardware makers who want to integrate Alexa into their connected devices.
Build New Voice Experiences with Help from the Alexa Fund
We announced the Alexa Fund--named for Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that powers Amazon Echo—will provide up to $100 million in investments to fuel voice technology innovation. Experiences designed around the human voice will fundamentally improve the way people use technology.
Announcing the Latest Alexa Fund Recipient: Sutro
Today we announced the next recipient of the Alexa Fund, Sutro. Sutro is creating a connected smart pool monitor that uses breakthrough technology to remove the burden of water maintenance and enable homeowners to focus on enjoying their pool and spa investments.
Amazon Announces the Next Alexa Fund Recipient: Invoxia
We announced that Invoxia is the latest recipient of funding from the Alexa Fund. Invoxia is a France-based tech company and creator of Triby, a new Wi-Fi connected communication device that lives in your kitchen. Triby magnetically sticks to your fridge and can play music, make calls, and display messages.
Petnet is the Latest Alexa Fund Recipient
We announced that Petnet is the latest recipient of funding from the Alexa Fund. Petnet is the creator of the SmartFeeder, an app-enabled intelligent feeding appliance, which allows pet owners to manage and tailor feeding times and portions to ensure overall health and well-being.
Amazon Announces the Next Alexa Fund Recipients: Musaic and Rachio
We announced two new recipients of the Alexa Fund, Musaic and Rachio, who join the seven previously funded companies announced in June.
For more information about getting started with Alexa, check out the following additional assets:
Get the Alexa App
Intro to Alexa Skills On Demand
Voice Design 101 On Demand
Free Alexa Developer T-shirts
AWS Promotional Credit
Alexa Skills Kit (ASK)
Alexa Developer Forums