Use the Alexa Connect Kit, Now Available, to Build Alexa-connected Devices More Easily, Quickly, and Economically
Ben McInnis Oct 11, 2019
Share:
Connected Devices ACK News
Blog_Header_Post_Img

We are excited to announce that the Alexa Connect Kit (ACK) is now generally available. ACK enables device makers to connect any device to the Internet and Alexa using an Amazon-managed hardware module, without worrying about managing cloud services, Alexa skills, or complex networking and security firmware. We’re also excited to announce multi-step control on ACK devices, coming soon. With multi-step control, you can deliver sophisticated functions like recipe presets from the cloud, allowing you to make your devices smarter and smarter over time, with no firmware updates required. Crock-Pot, Eaton, Hamilton Beach, Leedarson, Midea, Mr. Christmas, Procter & Gamble, Tonly, and Amazon are already using ACK to build products ranging from smart coffee makers to smart Christmas trees. Now, all device makers can order the ACK development kit and begin using ACK to create Alexa-connected products.

Create Products that Customers Love -- Easily, Quickly, and Economically

With ACK, you can make any device a smart device. When you add the Amazon-managed ACK module to your device, your customers get Alexa control by voice and by touch in the Alexa app, Wi-Fi simple setup, and automatic reordering of consumables your product needs to keep running at its best, such as air-filters, batteries, and coffee pods. The ACK module stays up to date automatically with silent, over-the-air firmware updates, and ACK’s managed cloud service meets the cloud reliability requirements of Works with Alexa. In addition, ACK leverages Amazon’s years of experience and infrastructure developing and supporting high-quality consumer devices to deliver:

  • Implementation Ease. You don’t need to create or manage a cloud service, write an Alexa smart home skill, or develop complex networking and security firmware.
  • Speed to Market. You prototype using the ACK development kit, integrate into your device using the ACK module and device SDK, and move to volume manufacturing when you’re ready.
  • Cost Certainty. ACK enables more certain business planning with a low per-device fee - less than $7 per device on average - that covers both the hardware module and ongoing use of the ACK cloud service. As a result, you don’t need to worry about unpredictable cloud infrastructure and usage costs.

Since we launched Alexa Connect Kit in preview last year, dozens of leading device makers and consumer products companies have used it to build Alexa-connected products, including:

  • The Hamilton Beach Smart 12-Cup Coffee Maker, available for pre-order today.
  • The Mr. Christmas Smart Christmas Tree, available for pre-order today.
  • The Amazon Smart Oven, available for pre-order today, and the AmazonBasics Microwave, already available.
  • The Procter & Gamble AIRIA smart home fragrance device, coming soon.
  • The Crock-Pot Alexa-enabled slow cooker, coming soon.

"Using Alexa Connect Kit, we were able to take our first Alexa connected product from idea to mass manufacturing in less than 6 weeks. ACK enabled us to deliver on a magical experience for our customers that we previously never thought possible," said Leslie Hermanson, President, Mr. Christmas.

“The Alexa-enabled Crock-Pot Slow Cooker is the next innovation in Crock-Pot’s line of slow cookers that make it easier for consumers to spend less time cooking and more time doing things they love. We’re thrilled to work with Amazon to further bring our vision for connected products to life,” said David Hammer, Division CEO, Appliances & Cookware, Newell Brands, maker of Crock-Pot slow cookers.

"Eaton is excited to be using the Alexa Connect Kit to accelerate development of our connected products and provide a great experience for our customers. As we continue to develop connected solutions, Eaton looks forward to working with Amazon to deliver products and services that improve the way we live, work, and play,” said Mike Yelton, President of Eaton’s Commercial & Residential Distribution Solutions Business.

How Alexa Connect Kit Works

When a customer says “Alexa, turn on the lights,” Alexa will send a “turn on the light” message to the Alexa Connect Kit service in the cloud. The service will forward this message to your device on the customer’s home Wi-Fi network. The ACK module on your device receives the message from Alexa and sends it to your device’s host microcontroller (HMCU) via serial bus. You use the ACK device SDK to update your HMCU code to act on the message.

You define which capabilities from the Smart Home Skill API your device supports in the ACK console. You can take advantage of APIs designed for common smart home functions, such as turning on lights, and toggle, mode, and range building block APIs that you can use for any device function. In addition to receiving and responding to control directives from Alexa, the ACK module and ACK cloud services provide support for simple setup, the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service, and the device metrics, logs, and over-the-air update capabilities to manage your devices in the field.

Building with the Alexa Connect Kit

The ACK developer tools, available today, allow you to prototype smart devices, update your HMCU firmware to handle ACK messages, and integrate the ACK module into your hardware.

You can purchase the ACK Development Kit today on Amazon.com. The development kit includes a USI development board with integrated ACK module, an Arduino Zero development board, and an LED used for prototyping a smart light device. You can follow step-by-step instructions in our documentation to build an Alexa-controlled smart light with ACK. You can use source code from the ACK device SDK to update your HMCU code, and the ACK console to configure your device’s Alexa command and control experience.

In addition, coming soon, you can use ACK multi-step control to deliver sophisticated functions like recipe presets from the cloud. You provide the logic which dictates which primitive commands to send to your device and when, based on time, device state, and more. Your device provides real-time state information and responds to primitive commands. The ACK cloud does the rest, including sending the right commands at the right time. Multi-step control (coming soon) allows you to make your devices smarter and smarter over time, with no firmware updates required. 

How to Get Started

To get started, purchase a development kit today on Amazon.com. To learn more about ACK, visit our documentation.To sign up to be notified when more information is available on ACK multi-step control, click here.