Smart Home Development FAQ

The following frequently asked questions (FAQ) answer common questions about smart home development options. For details about the development options, see Smart Home Development Options.

How do I decide which smart home development option to use?

Q: What are the development options to connect my device to Alexa?

You can connect your device to Alexa with any of the following development options: integrate a hardware module, build an Alexa smart home skill for cloud-connected devices, connect with your Alexa Built-in client, and use local wireless protocols. For details, see Smart Home Development Options.

Q: In what locales can I build smart home solutions with Alexa?

Smart Home APIs are available in many locales and languages. Some interfaces, such as the cooking interfaces, are available in the United States (English) only. For details see, Alexa Smart Home Interfaces and Supported Languages.

You can commercialize and distribute Alexa Connect Kit (ACK)-based products in the United States only.

Q: I am a device manufacturer who just wants to build my device. Which option is best for me?

If your device has a microcontroller, you can integrate an ACK hardware module. With this option, Amazon manages the infrastructure, security, and updates. You don't need to have an app or manage customer accounts. Integrate the ACK module for a per-device fee.

Q: I want to build an Alexa skill. Do I need my own cloud infrastructure?

Yes. With smart home skills, you need cloud infrastructure to interface with your device and to store customer accounts and associated device information. You can use Amazon Web Service (AWS) IoT Core as a cloud option, or any other managed cloud provider. You also need an OAuth 2.0 server. You can use Login With Amazon (LWA) or your own OAuth provider. You host your skill code on AWS Lambda and have the option to use other AWS services, like DynamoDB, at no cost with the AWS free tier of services.

Q: I already have an Alexa Built-in device. Can I use the smart home pre-built voice interaction model?

Yes. You can add the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) Smart Home APIs to your Alexa client in your built-in device.

More information

Q: What if I can't decide which option is best for my use case?

For help, submit a question on the Alexa Developer Contact Us page. Or, ask a question on the Alexa developer forum.