Introducing Cooking Capabilities in the Alexa Smart Home Skill API

Mike Maas Jan 04, 2018
Smart Home API News

Customers have now connected tens of millions of smart home devices to Alexa, including cameras, door locks, lights, entertainment systems, and thermostats. Today we are excited to introduce cooking capabilities as part of the Smart Home Skill API. Now you can build skills to enable customers in the US to control their microwave ovens using Alexa. Support for other cooking devices, such as conventional ovens, is coming soon. Cooking capabilities will also be available in other countries soon.

Extending Device Controls to Microwaves and Other Smart Appliances

Customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces (VUIs) as a hands-free way to manage their lives, and hands-free control is especially valuable when cooking. With the built-in cooking device controls in the Smart Home Skill API, you will make it easier for your customers to control your cloud-connected microwave. Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices.  For example, a customer can say “Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken” or “Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high.”

Initially, there are four new capability interfaces in the Smart Home Skill API – Alexa.Cooking, Alexa.Cooking.TimeController, Alexa.TimeHoldController, and Alexa.Cooking.PresetController. You can leverage these interfaces today for microwaves and for appliances that support preset cooking. The interfaces are designed for future extensibility as support for more cooking devices becomes available.

How Developers are Using the New Cooking Capabilities

Whirlpool has created an Alexa skill leveraging these new cooking capabilities in the Smart Home Skill API for its connected microwaves, and expects to launch it soon. The skill enables customers to easily configure, start, and operate their connected Whirlpool microwaves. Customers can ask Alexa to set microwave cook times, modes, power levels, and more instead of using the traditional and often confusing microwave experience.

In addition, GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG, and Samsung are working on using the cooking capabilities in the Smart Home Skill API to let customers control their ovens and more appliances using Alexa in the future.

Alexa Fund Invests in June Oven, Leading the Future of the Smart Kitchen

Additionally, we are announcing that the Alexa Fund, our venture capital arm, has invested in June Life, makers of the June Oven, a countertop smart oven that makes cooking easier, faster, and tastier. We are excited about the innovations June is bringing to the smart kitchen, including their existing Alexa skill, and look forward to what they will create when we introduce support for ovens in the Smart Home Skill API.

“We’re excited to take the next step in our work with Amazon through the Alexa Fund investment and to offer our customers even more engaging voice experiences with their June Ovens. “We’re already bringing hands-free voice control to customers via our June Oven custom skill, which makes it incredibly convenient for them to do things like preheat the oven while they’re mixing ingredients, set and check timers, and stop cooking without taking off their oven mitts,” said Matt Van Horn, Co-Founder and CEO of June Life. This next development in Smart Home Skill API support for ovens will enable our owners to give shorter, simpler commands to their June Ovens and receive updates on their food as it is cooking. We look forward to exploring what else we can do with our skill as the oven support rolls out.”

Reach and Delight More Customers

Whether you build cloud-connected microwaves or other smart home devices that connect to Alexa, you can submit your products for certification via the Works with Amazon Alexa program. The program raises the bar on responsiveness, reliability, and functionality, ensuring your customers have the best smart home experiences. When your products are certified, they can carry the Works with Amazon Alexa badge in the Amazon Smart Home Store and on product packaging. This increases customer confidence that your products integrate seamlessly with Alexa.

Get Started

For more information, check the following resources:

  1. Build Smart Home Skills for Cooking Appliances
  2. Learn about Smart Home Development with Alexa
  3. To create a smart home skill from scratch, see Steps to Create a Smart Home Skill
  4. To migrate an existing smart home skill to the updated API, see the Smart Home Skill Migration Guide
  5. Get started with the Works with Amazon Alexa program
  6. Ask questions and view answers on smart home in the Amazon Developer Forums
  7. Join the Alexa smart home channel on Slack
  8. See smart home products from other developers in the Alexa smart home store