Alexa Connect Kit (ACK) SDK

Alexa Connect Kit (ACK) is a managed service that makes it easy to integrate Alexa into your product. With ACK, you don't need to write an Alexa skill, manage a cloud service, or develop complex network and security firmware to connect your product to Alexa. ACK provides the managed services, software, and tools you can use to develop and manage your Alexa-connected products on an ongoing basis. Your customers benefit from Alexa device control and other features, such as Amazon's Frustration-Free Setup (FFS).

What's the ACK SDK?

Alexa Connect Kit SDK (ACK SDK) is a software package that enables you to build your own Alexa-compatible smart device solution and communicate with ACK services with the connectivity platform of your choice. The ACK SDK features the same benefits as solutions built using ACK hardware modules, but provides you with more control over platform hardware and supported features.

The ACK SDK works with any Amazon-qualified system-on-chip (SoC) (you can also apply to qualify the SoC of your choice). This provides you with further flexibility on your product architecture and hardware cost.

ACK SDK benefits

The ACK SDK enables you to build smart devices such as smart plugs, light bulbs, or fans, and adds the following benefits to ACK:

  • Product-tailored hardware – Provides a flexible hardware architecture that helps you select connectivity and peripheral components that are tailored to your products operation.
  • Optimize costs – Lowers your Bill-of-Material (BoM) cost by removing the need for host microcontroller unit (HMCU) and by enabling a single chip design.

The ACK SDK provides the same smart home features and benefits as the existing ACK module solution, including Frustration-Free setup (FFS), diagnostic logs, customer metrics, over-the-air update, low latency device control, device state query, and device notifications.

ACK SDK architecture overview

The following diagram shows a high-level architectural overview of the ACK SDK.

Components of ACK SDK
ACK SDK high-level architectural diagram

Component descriptions

  • ACK APIs – APIs to implement ACK directives and call backs for smart device behavior.
  • Amazon Common Software (ACS) Components – Suite of memory efficient, portable, and security audited Amazon Common Software (ACS) components necessary to build your device
  • Device Porting Kit (DPK) APIs – Provides abstraction from underlying hardware and operating system enabling portability.
  • Test Suites – Multi-tier test suites makes it easy to localize defects/bugs in device software.

Differences between the ACK SDK and ACK?

Before you build your device, understand the differences between the ACK SDK and the existing commercial ACK solution.

The following architectural diagrams show the difference between ACK and ACK SDK. The ACK SDK is distributed as source code and allows you to integrate your device application into the connectivity platform, which helps optimize the overall cost of your solution.

Existing ACK module architecture
ACK SDK architecture
Existing ACK module architecture compared to the new ACK SDK architecture

ACK

The ACK module solution primarily targets device makers (OEMs). To build an ACK-based product with the existing ACK solution, you follow these general steps:

  1. Purchase an ACK module from an approved partner.
  2. Purchase a host microcontroller unit (HMCU) that satisfies the ACK minimum requirements.
  3. Develop your application logic using the ACK Device SDK.
  4. Sell your device commercially.

ACK SDK

The ACK SDK primarily targets solution providers (SP) and original device makers (ODM). To build ACK SDK-based products, you follow these general steps:

  1. Build your own connectivity hardware or module.
  2. Implement your Alexa-connected solution with the ACK SDK.
  3. Sell the reference solution to a device maker. For example, a light bulb reference design or connectivity module.

Comparison table

The following table lists the differences between the ACK SDK and the existing ACK solution.

Feature ACK module-based products ACK SDK-based products Comments

Connectivity hardware

Built by ACK module providers and based on Mediatek or Espressif chipset

Built by ACK SDK solution provider or ODM

-

Connectivity firmware

Managed by Amazon

ACK SDK is distributed by Amazon. Final connectivity firmware is developed by ACK SDK SP/ODM

-

Device resources

ACK console and developer portal

ACK console for device management and reference platform documentation. ACK SDK SP/ODMs provide additional resources for their solutions

-

Virtual product creation

ACK console

ACK console*

* Not available in developer preview

ACK module device type and ACK SDK device type can't be used interchangeably

Manufacturing tooling (provisioning, barcodes, etc.)

ACK module utility

ACK SDK manufacturing tools distributed by Amazon. ACK SDK SP/ODM can build additional manufacturing tools

-

Development Kit

Obtain the Kit

ESP-WROVER-KIT on Amazon.com

-

Supported SoCs

Mediatek, Espressif

Espressif ESP32 and other chipsets supported by ACK SDK SP/ODM

-

Product certification

Espressif ESP32 and other chipsets supported by ACK SDK SP/ODM.

Works With Alexa (WWA), Frustration-Free Setup (FFS), additional certification for ACK SDK-based solution

-

General ACK SDK development flow

  1. Purchase an ACK SDK development kit for prototyping.
  2. Set up your development environment with the silicon vendor-provided tools, as instructed in the provided documentation.
  3. Download the ACK SDK version that corresponds to the reference platform of your choice. You might need to download additional platform-specific packages from the silicon vendor website.

    The SDK is distributed as source code with example applications and additional development and manufacturing tools.

  4. Develop device applications using the ACK SDK APIs and compile your source code for your specific target platform.
  5. Create a virtual product using the ACK console* and add Alexa capabilities that reflect the desired functionality of your device.

    * Not available in developer preview. Instead, you work with Amazon to create your virtual product.

  6. Provision your device with your virtual product.
  7. Register your device with the Alexa app for device control.