What's New in the Alexa Skills Kit: October 2019 Release Roundup

Leo Ohannesian Nov 11, 2019
Kid Skills Analyze News Personalization Localization Developer Console Make Money Multimodal Release Roundup

Editor's Note: Our monthly release roundup series showcases the latest in Alexa Skills Kit developer tools and features that can make your skills easier to manage, simpler to deploy, and more engaging for your customers. Build with these new capabilities to enable your Alexa skills to drive brand or revenue objectives.

In this roundup video we share details about the new things released for skill developers last month, including Skill Personalization, Utterance Conflict Detection, the Get Metrics API, and many other releases from October!

1. Publish Spanish Skills in the US and Make Money with In-Skill Purchasing (ISP) and Alexa Developer Rewards

Developers can now publish Spanish skills in the US and start making money with them via in-skill purchasing and Alexa Developer Rewards. Read the announcement here.

2. Premium Experiences Now Available for Kid Skills in the US

In-skill purchasing (ISP) is now available for kid skills in the US. Now, you can further enrich your Alexa kid skill experiences with premium content in the form of one-time purchases or subscriptions. Check out the blog here. 

3. You can now offer personalized experiences for your Alexa skill customers

The ability to personalize Alexa skills is now Generally Available. You may now use voice profiles to let your custom skill understand who is speaking and help you personalize their experiences. Your customers simply speak and Alexa helps you link the right household member accounts, remember preferences, and provide more accurate and customized responses. Alexa Skills Personalization is available in all locales. Read the announcement hereCheck out some code samples here. 

4. Programatically retrieve skill usage data with the Get Metrics API

The Get Metrics API is a new way for you to access the relevant data about your skills without needing to log-in to the developer console for each skill. With the new GetMetrics API, you can save time and increase visibility into the key insights in order to optimize skill engagement.. Read the announcement here or check out the tech docs here.

5. Build skills on the Echo Dot with clock with Alexa Presentation Language (APL)

You can start building skills using Alexa Presentation Language (APL) on the Echo Dot with clock, one of Amazon’s newest Echo devices. With this new capability, APL can be used to build visual experiences on a new class of devices with character-based displays. Read the announcement hereCheck out the tech docs here. 

6. Use new APL features to enhance your skills

Alexa Presentation Language (APL) now supports shadow effects for all components, noise filters you can use to add generated noise to images, support for remote play/pause buttons, and hover. Read the tech docs here

7. Alexa Smart Home Developers Can Now Use Automated Tests for Lighting and Thermostat Devices (Beta)

Today we are excited to release new Automated testing tool for Alexa Smart Home Lighting and Thermostat skill developers in all locales. The tool can be accessed via Skill Management APIs and ASK Command-Line Interface (CLI). This tool uses Test plans with Test cases which are based on the Works With Alexa (WWA) test plans.

8. Support for additional AWS Lambda regions as endpoints in Alexa skills

Starting today, you can host your Alexa skill’s AWS Lambda in additional regions. This will improve skill latency as the Lambda and other skill resources (DynamoDB, S3, etc.) can be hosted in the same region to avoid cross-region calls. Click here for the list of supported regions. Read the technical documentation. 

As always, we can't wait to see what you build. As a reminder, learn how to get the most out of the tech docs by visiting the Latest Tips page.