Today, Amazon announced Alexa Custom Assistant, a comprehensive new solution that lets device makers and service providers create intelligent assistants tailored to their brand personality and customer needs. The Alexa Custom Assistant is built directly on Alexa technology, providing companies access to world class, always-improving voice AI technology, customized with unique wake word, voice, skills, and capabilities. The brand’s assistant also seamlessly coexists and cooperates with Alexa, providing customers the benefits of an intelligent assistant that is their product and services expert, while Alexa provides the familiar experiences they already know and love. The Alexa Custom Assistant reduces the cost and complexity of building intelligent assistants into automobiles, consumer electronics, mobile applications, smart properties, video games, and a variety of other digital experiences.
Global automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is the first Alexa Custom Assistant customer, and has already begun the planning process for the development of an FCA-branded intelligent assistant for integration in select vehicle models. The company’s work builds on existing Alexa integrations in its vehicles around the world.
"Our customers expect to easily connect with their digital lifestyles wherever they go and today we responded with plans to offer new intelligent experiences built on Alexa’s world-class voice AI technology,” said Mark Stewart, Chief Operating Officer, FCA - North America. “We look forward to the expanding partnership with Amazon and the integration of Alexa Custom Assistant within our powerful Uconnect system as we continue on our path to put customer needs and expectations at the center of everything we do."
Innovation, without the hefty investment
Building an intelligent assistant is complex, time-consuming, and costly. Further, the rate of innovation and change is accelerating and assistants are always improving and getting smarter, requiring substantial ongoing investments. The Alexa Custom Assistant addresses this challenge by allowing companies to leverage Alexa’s world-class technology stack to create their own intelligent assistant without the investment, long development cycles, and resources to build it from scratch and maintain over time.
The Alexa Custom Assistant is based on constantly-improving spoken language understanding, intent routing, and response orchestration to provide a natural, intelligent, and conversational interface. Custom wake words are created using the same state-of-the-art process used for developing the Alexa wake word and deployed through the high-accuracy Alexa wake word engine. To create natural voice responses, each brand can choose their own unique voice. Alexa's voice science experts will guide them throughout the recording process and develop the voice using advanced machine learning algorithms. Finally, developers can leverage Alexa’s pre-built capabilities such as local search, weather, timers, and alarms, to further accelerate time to market.
By reducing the burden of building the core capabilities of an intelligent assistant, companies can focus their time and resources on creating unique capabilities that delight their customers. The Alexa Custom Assistant makes this easy by enabling developers to leverage the familiar Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) technology to build bespoke capabilities tailored to their brand and accessed through a unique wake word. For example, custom skills could be used to control a device like increasing the incline on a treadmill, changing the channel on a set top box, or starting a robot vacuum. They can also automate and scale customer interactions, such as providing troubleshooting guidance and helping customers learn more about device capabilities. This robust development environment allows each Alexa Custom Assistant implementation to be tailored to the individual brand, product, and customer needs.
Better Together: Cooperating to delight customers
A unique feature of the Alexa Custom Assistant is that it allows the brand’s assistant and Alexa to cooperate to fulfill the customer’s request. This feature is enabled by advanced AI to ensure each request is routed to the assistant that can provide the most relevant and delightful experience. For example, if a customer asks Alexa to roll down a car window, or how to troubleshoot a device, the request will be routed to the brand’s assistant. If a customer asks the brand’s assistant to play an audio book, the request will be routed to Alexa. Alexa’s presence alongside the brand’s assistant also provides customers access to tens of thousands of Alexa skills and integrations such as smart home, entertainment, trivia & games, shopping, food & drinks, mobility services, and many others. Further, because the Alexa Custom Assistant is built from the ground up with privacy in mind and using Alexa technology, Amazon manages the data and applies the same rigorous privacy and security policies in place for Alexa. The result is a convenient and intuitive experience that provides the combined benefits of both assistants to deepen customer engagement across their digital lives.
What others have to say about Alexa Custom Assistant
"Voice Assistants have become a critical piece of the in-vehicle customer experience, and automotive manufacturers are increasingly looking for opportunities to differentiate using this channel,” said Matt Arcaro, Senior Industry Analyst, Digital Automotive and Transportation Strategies, IDC. “However, many manufacturers struggle to balance the investments needed to develop, deliver, and maintain a best-in-class voice experience for their vehicles. This has opened the door for popular voice assistant to invest in productizing their technology, capabilities, and reach so that manufacturers can leverage this foundation to build a full-featured, yet, customizable voice assistant. The Alexa Custom Assistant appears well positioned to meet these needs. IDC sees the continued evolution of voice assistant offerings as a positive for automotive manufacturers, especially with helping them maximize resources, agility, and time to market, without compromising the customer experience.”
Global availability starting today
The Alexa Custom Assistant is available starting today anywhere Alexa is supported: U.S., Canada, U.K., Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and Brazil, with additional countries to follow.
To learn more, contact your Alexa account representative or join the Alexa Custom Assistant Interest List for more information.