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Alexa Smart Home Skills

How Smart Home Skills Work

Smart home skills enable customers to control your cloud-connected devices and appliances—like lights, thermostats, cameras, and coffee makers—using Alexa. With smart home skills, the voice interaction model is already built and handled for you, so you simply decide how you want customers to use your device by adding capabilities in your skill to enable those interactions.

Alexa for Music
On this page:

Ways to Build   |    Key Features   |    Example Skills    |    Latest Feature Updates    |     Get Started    |    For Device Builders

Ways to Build for Smart Home with Alexa

The first step to building an Alexa smart home experience is to decide how your device will use Alexa. You can build voice-forward products either by integrating Alexa into your devices or by controlling your devices with Alexa. Once you've selected how your device will work with Alexa, you can then select how you'll build your skill—whether with the Smart Home Skill API or with the Custom Skill API.

Choose How Alexa Works with Your Device

Alexa Built-in

Build devices using the Alexa Voice Services (AVS) that customers can talk to and enable access to cloud-based capabilities, including music, information, smart home control, and more than 100,000 Alexa skills.

Alexa Connected Devices

Connect your devices to Alexa and enable customers to control them through hundreds of millions of Alexa devices. Customers can use their voices to control smart home devices such as lights and cameras, plus Alexa Gadgets and more.

Select How You'll Build Your Skill

Smart Home Skill API

Use the Smart Home Skill API to access capability interfaces that enable you to describe your device’s functionality and the properties, events, and directives that they support. Leverage dozens of capability interfaces to support a range of functionalities for you device, such as turning off or dimming a light.

Custom Skill API

With the Custom Skill API, you can extend the built-in capabilities with your own custom voice interaction model. Support even more utterances for you smart home devices, like "Alexa, what can this device do?”

Multi-Capability Skills

With Multi-Capability Skills, you can combine the Smart Home and Custom Skill models into a single skill. Extend the built-in Smart Home skill utterances with your own custom voice interaction model to support nearly any feature, without customers needing to enable and invoke two separate skills.

Other Ways to Build for Smart Home

Alexa Connect Kit

The Alexa Connect Kit (ACK) allows you to connect devices to Alexa without worrying about managing cloud services or complex networking and security firmware. Instead, you integrate the ACK module into your product and pay a one-time fixed cost. ACK provides the managed services, software, and tools you can use to develop and manage your Alexa-connected smart products on an ongoing basis.

Echo Plus Zigbee Support

The Amazon Echo Plus has a built-in smart home hub that seamlessly connects and controls Zigbee smart devices, such as light bulbs, door locks, in-wall switches, and plugs, without the need for separate hubs or a smart home skill.  

Alexa Gadgets

You can also build your very own Alexa Gadgets—from smart toys to smart clocks and more—that pair to compatible Echo devices via Bluetooth using the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit.

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Key Features of Smart Home Skills

Capability Interfaces

Use capability interfaces to describe your device’s Alexa functionality, such as the ability to dim a light or turn it on and off.

Support for State and Change Reporting

Send notifications to Alexa when your device makes a change, such as unlocking a door or turning on the thermostat.

Discovery Messages for Customer Queries

Enable customers to check the current state of a device using Alexa or the Alexa app.

Event Sharing

Send events to Alexa from your Lambda function or from your device cloud to let customers know when a request was completed.

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Example Smart Home Skills

iRobot Home
Smart Life
Sonos
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Latest Feature Updates for Smart Home Skills

                

Date Name Summary Locale Availability Links Release Type

5/28/2020

Multi-Capability Skills

Introducing Multi-Capability Skills: Combine Smart Home and Custom Skill Models into a Single Skill

All

Blog

GA

2/3/2020

ChangeReport Accuracy Rate

New Smart Home Analytic Metric: ChangeReport Accuracy Rate

All

Documentation

Generally Available

2/3/2020

Smart Home Live Debugger

Smart Home Live Debugger Now Supports Proactive Discovery and Delete Events

All

Documentation

Generally Available

11/26/2019

Networking API

Use the new networking API to control your networking devices

 

Alexa Blog

Documentation

Generally Available

Get Started with Smart Home Skills

Ready to build? Explore these resources to learn more about building smart home skills for Alexa, then start building your skill with the Alexa Skills Kit.

Steps to Build a Smart Home Skill

Understand the step-by-step process for building a skill that controls smart home devices.

5 Steps Before You Start

Learn the five prerequisites to building a smart home skill, from account linking to creating an AWS lambda function.

API Reference Guide

Learn how your smart home skill and Alexa exchange information to define your device’s functionality using capability interfaces.

Explore Device Options

Looking for information about building smart home devices? Explore our options for device builders.