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October 02, 2018BJ Haberkorn
You can use now use seven new built-in slot types in all Alexa locales to save time in your skill development and to improve your customer experience. The seven slots - AMAZON.Color, AMAZON.Country, AMAZON.DayOfWeek, AMAZON.Genre, AMAZON.Language, AMAZON.Month, and AMAZON.Room – were previously available only to US English skills. Although the slots are currently in public beta, you can use them in your skills without limitation.
When you build an Alexa skill with the Custom Skill API, you define a voice interaction model that describes how customers will interact with your skill. The interaction model includes intents, which Alexa uses to map a customer’s spoken words to the action they’d like the skill to take. The interaction model also includes slots, which are variables within the intent. For example, the interaction model for an animal sounds skill might map the phrases “What does a cow say?” and “What does a cat say?” to a MAKE_SOUND intent with values of “cow” and “cat” for an associated WHICH_ANIMAL slot.
For each slot in your interaction model, you identify the associated slot type. A slot type provides a representative list of values that Alexa uses to train the machine learning model in order to improve recognition accuracy. In the example above, the WHICH_ANIMAL slot could use a slot type of ANIMAL that is defined to include “cat,” “cow,” “dog,” “fish,” and “horse.” You can define your own custom slot types for your skill, and you can use built-in slot types.
Built-in slot types are defined by Amazon for many common skill use cases in order to save you time, and to provide a more consistent customer experience across skills. For example, the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) includes built-in slot types for capturing date, time, numbers, and more. We define the representative list of values for each built-in slot and improve it over time, eliminating the need for you to do this work yourself. You can find more information on custom and built-in slot types in the Slot Type Reference.
If your skill captures colors, countries, the day of the week, months, languages, genres, or rooms within a house, you may be able to both simplify your interaction model and improve your recognition accuracy by using the built-in slot types now available in beta. You can find more information on the new slot types, and availability, in our documentation.