At Alexa Live 2022, we announced a wide variety of features for skill developers and device makers creating the next generation of ambient experiences for customers.
There are now hundreds of millions of Alexa-enabled devices out there with customers around the world. Building with Alexa gives you a unique opportunity to engage with these customers while they are at home, at work, or on the go.
Leveraging the science that powers deep conversational experiences with Alexa, each of these features have been carefully curated to help you tap into specific areas where Alexa is displaying especially strong momentum. By tapping into these areas, you can drive growth for your business.
Smart home device makers will discover new ways to engage with customers who have connected more than 300 million devices to Alexa, from smart lighting to thermostats, cameras, robotic vacuums, locks and more. Device makers will learn about the new tools we are making available to develop compelling multi-modal experiences and take advantage of the incredible momentum in this area. For multi-modal devices made by our partners - devices like TVs, PCs, smart displays, and tablets - Alexa’s active customer base has almost tripled since 2020. Finally, skill developers will learn about ways they can become part of customers’ daily habits and routines — after all, customers using Routines have four times the engagement and 40% higher retention than non-Routines customers.
And there’s more. So much more. Here’s everything we announced at Alexa Live 2022.
Today, we announced exciting Matter-related updates and the new Alexa Ambient Home Dev Kit to continue our collaboration, delivering smart home experiences that customers love today and tomorrow:
The Alexa Ambient Home Dev Kit is a new collection of services and APIs that seeks to unify the ambient smart home experience for our customers. At Alexa Live, we announced the first five APIs that will be included as part of the Alexa Ambient Home Dev Kit:
Learn more and sign up to recieve updates here.
Alexa Connect Kit SDK for Matter is a new software package that brings the benefits of ACK’s managed services to Matter devices, including cloud connectivity, and over-the-air (OTA) updates for device lifecycle management, logs, and metrics. Using the ACK SDK for Matter means you can deliver the increased interoperability of Matter for your customers, and receive the benefits of managed cloud connectivity features to build differentiated products. For more details, please check out our ACK SDK for Matter blog here.
Expanding Retailer Support for Frustration-Free Setup: We are happy to share that we are expanding Frustration-Free Setup for devices sold through other retailers. Customers will be able to experience the joy of your products right away, regardless of where the device was purchased. Device makers who support FFS will be able to take advantage of the increased availability of this simplified setup experience without any additional development work. Amazon will start by bringing this support to Matter devices, and then expand availability to other Frustration-Free Setup devices in the future.
To learn more about Alexa’s differentiating features for Matter, please visit the Matter portal for updates.
Amazon announced important developments related to the Voice Interoperability Initiative for multi-assistants, along with new tools for device makers to easily build compelling, multimodal customer experiences with Alexa:
Universal Device Commands: Universal Device Commands (UDCs) and Agent Transfers (ATs) are future capabilities for multi-simultaneous wake word experiences that will make it easier for customers to interact with multiple voice services on the same device. Specifically, UDCs will allow customers to speak a command using any compatible voice service’s wake word, even if the service was not originally used to initiate the request. ATs will allow voice services to transfer customer requests to other voice services when they don’t have the ability to fulfill them. Amazon will enable cloud side support for UDCs and ATs within the next year.
Skullcandy and Native Voice are announcing future multi-assistant functionality for Skullcandy’s Push Active and Grind Series headphones, making Alexa and “Hey Skullcandy” commands available to customers simultaneously. Customers will be able to use “Hey Skullcandy” commands to adjust device settings, answer/reject calls, and control the media player to play, pause, adjust volume, or skip tracks. Or, ask Alexa to check the latest score on a sports game, get a recipe for blueberry muffins, hear the weather update, and more. Additional multi-assistant experiences that have recently launched with Alexa include Sonos Voice Control, Pioneer's NP1, among others.
Alexa Voice Service (AVS) SDK 3.0 combines the Alexa Smart Screen SDK and the AVS Device SDK into a single solution, providing device makers with the foundational tools to build compelling and engaging Alexa voice and multimodal experiences across multiple device categories. Offering one SDK with configurations and templates simplifies the build and update processes across Alexa-enabled devices. Learn more about the AVS SDK 3.0.
We launched features to help skill builders and developers drive business growth, develop high-quality customer experiences, and speed up time to market.
Drive business growth
The following features and programs are designed to enable you to build sustainable businesses with Alexa, by growing your potential revenue and reach.
Skill Developer Accelerator Program (SDAP) will enable you to drive business growth by providing incentives for building high-quality skills. These incentives will be made available next year. In addition, for developers earning less than $1MM in aggregate revenue from In-Skill Purchasing (ISP), Subscriptions and Paid Skills, SDAP provides an increased developer revenue share. Learn more about SDAP here.
Promoted Skills will provide you with a new, simple but effective way to promote skills on Echo Show home screens. Coming later this year, you can set up promotional campaigns for your skill in less than five minutes. You will also be able to view performance and attribution metrics that are updated on a daily basis. Fill in the developer interest form.
Alexa Routines Kit (ARK) enables you to surface pre-built Routines to your customers when they interact with your skill. Instead of creating Routines from scratch, customers can enable these pre-built Routines through simple voice consent, and make their favorite skills a part of their daily lives. This feature is in developer preview. Sign up to be considered for participation. Learn more by reviewing this blog post.
Voice-forward Account Linking enables customers to easily link the account that they have with your application with their Alexa account, by just using their voice. Previously, customers had to use their Alexa app to complete their account linking. However, with this new approach, simple voice consent can be used to link accounts. Review the technical documentation.
Alexa Shopping Kit consists of a comprehensive suite of features that allows you to embed shopping experiences within your skill. Customers can discover, research, and purchase relevant products from within a skill. You need to simply choose the products from Amazon.com you want to surface. With Amazon Associates on Alexa, developers can earn up to 10% commission on eligible purchases referred from their skill thus opening up a new monetization channel.
Learn more about the Alexa Shopping Kit in the announcement blog. Get started with the two Alexa Shopping Actions that are publicly available (Add To Cart and Buy Now) by reviewing this technical documentation. Sign up to participate in the preview to embed an additional shopping action - 'Add to list."
Alexa Skill Deals gives you the ability to set up a discount on your In-Skill Purchase (ISP) products and Paid Skills through the Alexa Developer Console.. These discounts can run across a developer-determined deal window lasting up to a year, and will be available to all customers. With Alexa Skill Deals, customers get to experience premium content and skills at a discounted price. Get started by reviewing this technical documentation.
Develop high-quality customer experiences
The features below have been designed to help you shape the next generation of high-quality ambient experiences with Alexa.
Dialog Testing Tool API enables you to create automatic test-sets to evaluate multi-turn dialogs. The tool can handle variations in skill responses due to random slot filing for the Alexa Presentation Language for Audio (APLA), and helps prevent your integration tests from failing incorrectly. You can now create smarter and intelligent integration tests for your most impactful use cases, especially supporting nonlinear and natural patterns powered by Alexa Conversations. Get started by signing up for the developer preview here.
The A/B Testing Tool enables you to define a skill's control and treatment customer experiences by adding conditional statements to the skill code. You can determine what percentage of randomized customers will receive the control experience or the treatment experience. Learn more here.
Updates to the Food Skill APIs leverages the state-of-the-art techniques in conversational AI to make it easier for restaurants to connect with customers and get food to the table in new and convenient ways.
Alexa Presentation Language for Audio (APLA) templates help you ramp up quickly on new APLA concepts with full samples. The templates will appear in the authoring tool when a user clicks "Create Audio Response." With APL for Audio (APLA), you can add audio responses from Alexa, Polly voices, sound effects and music to your skills. See the technical documentation.
Multimodal Response Builder brings together multiple steps to create a visual response for your skill into one guided walkthrough. The multimodal response builder automatically generates responsive visuals that render beautifully across a broad range of Alexa devices. View the technical documentation.
Skill Quality Coach: provides you with a step-by-step approach for building high quality skills with tailored guidance and feedback. The Skill Quality Coach leverages learnings from thousands of successful Alexa skills to identify common attributes and generates personalized recommendations to improve skill quality. Starting today, developers in the US can view their SQS via the Skill Quality Dashboard. Learn more about the Skill Quality Coach here.
APL Best Practices Guide for Developers provides whitepaper-like guidance on how to build performance-optimized APL templates. Develop an understanding of what your visual user flows look like, and determine the best approaches to break up your design into APL documents, layouts, pages, and views. View the technical documentation here.
APL Accessibility Guide helps you build experiences that are accessible to customers who are blind or have visual impairments. View the technical documentation.
Skill Components provide you with ready-to-use experiences that you can easily add to your skills built using Alexa Conversations (AC). Each component is a collection of skill primitives, such as Voice User Interface dialogs & intents, Alexa Presentation Language (APL) documents, skill code, skill connection tasks, and skill events. You can import these components into your existing Skill Package, compile, and then deploy your skill. Sign up for the developer preview here.
Go to market faster
The features and programs below make building with Alexa even simpler, so that you can get to market faster, and engage millions of customers around the world.
Improved experience on developer.amazon.com: We are improving the Alexa developer console experience through the year with a rolling set of updates and improvements. This has already started with the new search experience, providing search functionality across multiple sites such as Amazon, GitHub, and YouTube.
Alexa Learning Lab is a new resource on the developer portal, designed specifically to accelerate developer learning. In the Learning Lab, you will be able to learn by doing. It provides the opportunity to try new features and get real-time guidance. Just modify the code, submit, see your results, with real-time feedback. Learn more here.
Unified DX across Alexa Conversations and Interaction Model: Unified developer experience provides a streamlined set of core concepts and primitives to create natural, multi-turn, conversational experiences. Skill builders will be able to incrementally leverage the breadth of AI capabilities through a progressive developer experience and tool-chains to create a wide-range of CX patterns that include one-shots, simple multi-turn and rich non-linear conversations. Stay tuned to developer.amazon.com to find out when this experience becomes available.
Code Sandbox provides a “show me” feature for developers to view and edit live APL examples in the APL tech docs. Now you can learn hands-on in the tech docs without ever leaving the page. Get started by viewing the technical documentation.
Amazon is making major investments in conversational AI and building the tools to enable you to create the next generation of ambient experiences. We can’t wait to see all that you do with these new features and programs as you engage with customers at home, at their workplaces and on-the-go, and in the process, drive growth for your business.