Design Your Connected Device Experience

Alexa Connected Devices

Imagine Your Alexa-Connected Device Experience

In order to deliver a great customer experience with your Alexa-connected device, you need to determine the Alexa features you want to enable and the right connectivity option. You should make these decisions together, as some features dictate the right connectivity approach. Once you’ve made these decisions, you’re ready to build your device.

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Take Advantage of Voice

A voice user interface (VUI) allows people to use voice input to control computers and devices. In short, it’s what enables voice experiences like the Star Trek computer and Alexa. Voice experiences are great when they offer a faster, easier, or more delightful way of doing things. Today's VUIs are quickly growing smarter, learning the user’s speech patterns over time and even building their own vocabulary. By building with Alexa, you can leverage our expertise in automatic speech recognition (ASR), natural language understanding (NLU), and text to speech (TTS), making it easier for you to deliver rich, delightful customer experiences for all your devices.

Connected Device Design Decisions

You can connect your devices to Alexa in the cloud using a skill, locally using a smart home hub, on your device using the Alexa Connect Kit (ACK), or by pairing to an Echo device using Bluetooth. These options give you the flexibility to deliver the right experience for your customers.

  In the Cloud Locally On Your Device Echo Paired
Use Case Enable Alexa control via voice commands and automation based on time-of-day and triggers. Supported with Alexa Routines and Groups. Build Alexa Gadgets that react to events from an Echo device or voice command.
Supported devices Any smart device Lights, locks, plugs, switches, and sensors Any smart device Any Gadget (may include toys, lights, motors, actuators, and more)
Alexa skill required for device Yes No Provided with ACK Optional
Voice User Interface Built-in Built-in Built-in Custom
Eligible for Works with Alexa and Certified for Humans Yes Yes Yes No
Development information Smart Home Skill API Zigbee and Echo Plus Alexa Connect Kit Alexa Gadgets Toolkit

Smart Home Skill Design Guidelines

If you connect your smart device to Alexa in the cloud, you’ll need to design a smart home skill. Alexa will send directives to your skill when a customer speaks a smart home command, and may send requests to discover new devices or determine device status.

Using the updated Smart Home Skill API (Preview), you can now combine native Alexa smart home intents with custom intents that you define, in a single skill. This allows you to support additional utterances appropriate for your device, as well as unique features. See Steps to Build a Smart Home Skill to learn more.

Works with Alexa (WWA) Program Guidelines

Connected device manufacturers must comply with the Works with Alexa (WWA) Program Guidelines to be eligible to apply for Works with Alexa certification. Works with Alexa certification is required to use the Works with Alexa badge.

All devices should conform to Works with Alexa security best practices, and all devices that require an Alexa skill must meet the associated requirements. As you design your device experience, review the Works with Alexa (WWA) Program Guidelines.

Next Steps