Introducing the New Alexa Connect Kit (ACK) Module with Espressif Chipset: Connect Nearly Any Device to Alexa with ACK

Ben McInnis Jul 22, 2020
Connected Devices Alexa Live Smart Home ACK News

Last year, we launched Alexa Connect Kit (ACK), enabling device makers to make nearly any device into an Alexa-compatible smart device without having to worry about managing cloud services, writing an Alexa skill, or developing complex networking and security firmware. Today, we are excited to announce the addition of a new ACK Module with Espressif Chipset. This new module is as much as 50% lower in cost. To learn more about the ACK Module with Espressif, sign up here and start building with Alexa Connect Kit.

How Alexa Connect Kit Works

With Alexa Connect Kit, you can make nearly any device with power into an Alexa-compatible smart device your customers will love, all at a fixed per-device cost. You simply integrate an Amazon-managed ACK module into your device, connect it to your device’s microcontroller (MCU) over a serial interface, and add interface code to your device’s firmware to interpret control messages from the ACK module. The ACK module adds Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, and all the software needed for Alexa control, Frustration Free Setup, security, and log and metric collection – managed and updated by Amazon. For your customers, products built with ACK include Alexa control through voice and the Alexa app, and the option to support Amazon Dash Replenishment. For developers, ACK enables you to connect your devices to Alexa without the need to operate a cloud, create and maintain an Alexa skill, develop a companion app, or deal with IoT firmware integration. With an ACK module on your device, you can focus on building great hardware.

Reduce the Cost, Time, and Effort to Create High-Quality Alexa-Compatible Products

ACK makes it simple, fast, and economical to create and manage Alexa-compatible smart devices. Leading device makers and consumer products brands like Eaton, Hamilton Beach, Procter & Gamble, Toshiba, Sharp, Vornado, Crock-Pot, Mr. Christmas, and more than a dozen other device makers are using Alexa Connect Kit to build products ranging from smart coffee makers to smart Christmas trees.

"Hamilton Beach is excited to be using the Alexa Connect Kit to accelerate development of our connected products and provide a great experience for our customers. We’ve seen success with our first smart coffee maker using ACK, and now that ACK costs are even lower, we are looking forward to working with Amazon to deliver more smart home products,” says Scott Tidey, Senior Vice President, North American Sales and Marketing, Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc.

“We are excited about the recent launch of our Eaton Wi-Fi Smart Devices, such as light switches, dimmers, and receptacles, that are utilizing the Alexa Connect Kit (ACK). The ACK program helped us reduce time to market, successfully launching on schedule. As we continue to develop connected solutions, we look forward to working with Amazon to deliver products and services that help power what matters for our customers,” said Mike Yelton, President of Eaton’s Commercial & Residential Distribution Solutions Business.

Turn Cost Uncertainty into Cost Certainty
IoT costs can be unpredictable with usage spikes that are difficult to plan for. With ACK, device makers pay for the ACK module and a low, upfront fee that covers the ongoing use of the ACK cloud services. As a result, device makers don’t need to worry about unpredictable costs.

Increase Your Speed to Market
ACK has allowed device makers to reduce their speed to market from years to just months. We’ve been amazed with how device makers have used Alexa Connect Kit to improve their speed to market, even when building their very first Alexa-compatible device. “Using Alexa Connect Kit, we were able to take our first Alexa-compatible product from idea to mass manufacturing in less than 6 weeks. By using Alexa Connect Kit, we could deliver a magical experience for our customers that we previously never thought possible.” said Leslie Hermanson, President, Mr. Christmas.

Create High-Quality Products with Features Customers Love
Customers love their ACK devices; every ACK device to date has a 4-star rating or higher on ACK-based devices can take advantage of the capabilities of the Smart Home Skill API, as well as Frustration Free Setup, and Amazon Dash Replenishment. Plus, the ACK managed cloud service is built on AWS IoT, so ACK-built devices will automatically meet the cloud service reliability requirements necessary for Works with Alexa (WWA) and Certified for Humans (CFH) certification, subject to the testing and other requirements set forth in the program guidelines for WWA and CFH. After your device is certified, you can feature the WWA or CFH badges in the Amazon Smart Home Store and on product packaging, opening new marketing opportunities and increasing customer confidence that your devices integrate seamlessly with Alexa.

Start Building with Alexa Connect Kit Today

The ACK development board and prototyping tools make it easy to get started. You can prototype your product using the ACK development kit, module, and device SDK, and move to mass manufacturing when you’re ready. To get started, view the ACK development kits and visit our documentation guide for how to start prototyping your product with ACK. To learn more about the new ACK Module with Espressif Chipset and to stay up-to-date on ACK news, sign up here.

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