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Alexa Communications Announcements Overview

Introduction

The Announcements feature from Alexa Communications allows users to send recorded audio or text-to-speech (TTS) content to be played back immediately on compatible Alexa devices for their household account. For example, a user can broadcast to all Alexa devices in their house that it's time to eat by saying, "Alexa, announce that dinner is ready," which prompts the announcement "Dinner is ready" to play on all compatible household Alexa devices. Users can send Announcements from both an Alexa device and from the Alexa mobile app.

Getting started

You will need to have your device whitelisted by Amazon to enable the Alexa Communications Announcements feature for your device's users. To launch Announcements, your device must meet AVS security requirements and pass functional certification testing of the feature. Contact your AVS Partner Manager to submit your device for Announcements testing and to request whitelisting to self-test Announcements.

Sending Announcements

Users can send Announcements on any device that supports Alexa in supported in any locale where Announcements are supported:

  • Amazon Alexa devices: Users can send an audio announcement from a supported Amazon Alexa device, such as the Echo. In either use case, the announcement will be pulled from the utterance and sent as a recorded audio announcement:
    • One utterance: Users can send an announcement in one utterance by saying, “Alexa, announce…” followed by the announcement content. For example, "Alexa, announce that dinner is ready."
    • Two utterances: Users can also send the announcement as two utterances, by starting off with “Alexa, make an announcement.” Alexa then prompts them, and users say the announcement content.
  • Alexa app: Use the Alexa app on a mobile device to send recorded audio or TTS announcements.

    From the Communicate tab of the app, select the Announce button. Then use either the microphone button to record an audio announcement (which will play in the user's voice) or the keyboard to write a text announcement (which will play in Alexa's voice).

  • Third-party Alexa devices: Third-party Alexa devices can send announcements by implementing the SpeechRecognizer Interface and SpeechSynthesizer Interface.
    • One utterance: For a one utterance announcement, a device sends a Recognize event with the user's audio that contains “Alexa, announce…” followed by the announcement content.
    • Two utterances: If the user does not provide the announcement content, Alexa responds with a SpeechSynthesizer Speak directive asking for the content, followed by a SpeechRecognizer ExpectSpeech directive, which should open the microphone. At this point, the user will provide the audio for the announcement content, which should be sent via another Recognize event.

Delivering Announcements

Once a user sends an outbound announcement, Alexa determines the set of devices for delivery. All devices that are registered to either the user or another member of their Amazon Household are considered. If any of the following conditions are met on a device, Alexa excludes that device from announcement delivery:

  • Announcements are disabled. (To enable or disable announcements in the Alexa app, go to Settings → Device Settings → device_name → Communications → Announcements.)
  • The device is actively in a call or drop-in.
  • The device is in Do Not Disturb mode.

After filtering out unavailable devices, Alexa proceeds to announcement playback for the remaining devices. If no devices are currently available for playback, Alexa surfaces an error message back to the user, letting them know that the announcement was not delivered.

Announcement Playback

Once Alexa determines that a device is available for delivery, the cloud initiates announcement playback by sending a SpeechSynthesizer Speak directive to the device. To support announcements, a device must implement the SpeechSynthesizer Interface, including the inbound Speak directive with the binary audio attachment, the SpeechStarted lifecycle event, and the SpeechFinished lifecycle event, as appropriate.

An announcement can be delivered while another one is already playing. In this case, the second announcement will be stored in a cloud-maintained queue until the first one has completed playback. Once the first announcement sends the SpeechFinished event, the Speak directive for the second announcement is sent to the device. Alexa can queue multiple announcements in this manner and will continue to play announcements one by one until the queue is empty.

User and Customer Experience Guidance

When implementing Announcements and messaging that your device now supports Announcements, follow the guidance provided by Amazon to ensure a positive customer experience.

User Experience (UX) Guidance

For UX guidance for implementing Announcements, see AVS UX Attention System for Alexa Communications: Announcements.

Customer Experience Guidance

To notify your customers that your device implements Announcements, include messaging in your product updates/announcements to communicate this feature. Amazon recommends using the following wording:

Alexa Announcements enables customers to broadcast a message to all of the other supported Alexa Built-in devices in your household account. Announcements are great for quick, broad communications you want to share with your whole family.

For example, say “Alexa, announce that dinner’s ready” to your Alexa Built-in device and “Dinner’s ready” will play in your voice on your other supported devices. Customers can also say, “Alexa, tell everyone…” and “Alexa, broadcast…” to make an announcement.

Manage Announcements in the Alexa mobile app. Go to Settings > Device Settings > device_name >Communications > Announcements to configure settings for each Alexa device in your household.

For more information, visit the following pages: