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July 01, 2016Zoey Collier
Shark Week, television's most anticipated week of shark-filled television, kicked off this year on Sunday, June 26. A celebration of all things shark-related, this year's week delivers more hours of all-new, visually-stunning, and informative shark-filled specials than ever before.
Since the Discovery Channel audience is tech-savvy and forward-thinking, Discovery wanted to expand Shark Week's reach. To do this, Discovery decided to test the water with a Shark Week skill.
Given this was Discovery's first Alexa skill, they wanted to familiarize the team with Alexa skill development. Adam Zuckerman, Director of Ventures & Innovation at Discovery Channel, says, “The requirements for the Alexa skill were three-fold: 1) build an Alexa skill that the Discovery audience would find useful and informative 2) add a time-relevant component for Shark Week 3) remain relevant after Shark Week.”
With these requirements in mind, they built an Alexa skill with a real-time countdown timer and a voice activated “Sharkopedia” fact engine. The skill was a collaboration between Adam Zuckerman and Stephen Garlick, Lead Development and Operations Engineer at Discovery Channel.
See the skill in action by first enabling the skill via the Alexa app or simply saying, “Alexa, enable Shark Week skill.” Then say, “Alexa, ask Shark Week for a fact.”
Stay tuned for part two to learn how Discovery built and tested their Alexa skill and their tips for other Alexa developers.
Share other innovative ways you’re using Alexa in your life. Tweet us @alexadevs with hashtag #AlexaDevStory.
Are you ready to build your first (or next) Alexa skill? Build a custom skill or use one of our easy tutorials to get started quickly.