Knowledge Skill Overview

Knowledge skills enable users, such as employees and customers, to ask Alexa questions about an organization's spreadsheet data without invoking a skill name. Users can ask Alexa about different types of data – org charts, building information, events, FAQs, glossaries, product catalogs, and more – in a knowledge skill by saying, "Alexa," and then asking their question. Building knowledge skills requires only a spreadsheet of data and Alexa for Business. You don't need code or an AWS infrastructure.

Why knowledge skills?

Knowledge skills offer the following features:

  • Spreadsheet data input – Upload and update your data by using spreadsheets.
  • Flexible understanding – Use Alexa's intelligence to enable users to ask the same question in different ways. For example, the Events template enables users to ask questions about "next" and "last" events, as well as events happening "last week", "next month", or "this year".
  • No code or infrastructure – Build a knowledge skill without coding or AWS infrastructure.
  • No skill invocation – Simply say, "Alexa," and then ask a question. You don't need to add a skill name before questions.

How knowledge skills work

Knowledge skills enable users to ask questions and get answers from spreadsheet data that you upload and map to templates. These templates correspond to different use cases. The following are a few examples:

  • How To template"Alexa, how do I log on to the Wi-Fi?"
  • Events template"Alexa, when is the next keynote?"
  • Products template"Alexa, where can I find the pasta?"

For a complete list of templates, see Knowledge Skill Templates. If you have data that fits into one of these templates, you can create a knowledge skill.

For a fictional case study that includes how a company mapped their data to knowledge skill templates, see Knowledge Skill Case Study.

Types of questions

Knowledge skills can answer several types of questions by using your spreadsheet data. The following example shows a portion of the People Directory template. Each row is an employee, and each column is an attribute of an employee.

The following data answers the question, "Alexa, when did Mary Major start?" with "Mary Major started on September 15, 2015."

Knowledge skill single fact question example.

The following data answers the question, "Alexa, what's John Public's start date and phone number?" with "John Public started on December 18, 2017 and his phone number is 123-555-0199."

Knowledge skill multiple fact question example.

The following data answers the question, "Alexa, how many software developers are in New York?" with "There is one software developer in New York."

Knowledge skill count question example.

The following data answers the question, "Alexa, what employees are located in New York?" with "Mary Major and Jane Doe are located in New York."

Knowledge skill list question example.

The following data answers the question, "Alexa, who are the newest employees in New York?" with "Jane Doe is the newest employee in New York, she started on June 1, 2016."

Knowledge skill superlative question example.

The following data answers the question, "Alexa, what's the average tenure for Software Developers?" with "The average tenure for software developers is 5.1 years."

Knowledge skill statistic question example.

Get started

To get started, create an Amazon developer account at https://developer.amazon.com. Then, log in to your developer account, and go through the step-by-step instructions in Steps to Create a Knowledge Skill.