Learn to add Alexa to a Speaker, Sound bar, or AVR

Integrate your product with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to provide users with voice control of Alexa features, such as multi-room music streaming, announcements, and alerts. Headless devices without a GUI, such as smart speakers, sound bars, and audio/video receivers (AVRs), that use AVS turn the Alexa user experience into a hands-free experience.

Read through the following sections to learn the high-level steps and resources to design, build, and launch a smart speaker with microphones, leveraging AVS through the AVS Device SDK. Because headless devices typically don't have a screen, also consider developing a mobile companion app (iOS or Android) to help new users set up their devices.

Review the AVS product requirements

Alexa users expect their devices to deliver a consistent and high-quality Alexa experience. To help standardize this experience, the AVS team at Amazon provides robust documentation for requirements and recommendations. Follow these requirements to streamline your path to certification for your device:

Follow Alexa product development guidance

If you're not experienced in developing devices for a voice-based UI, you might not be aware of all of the considerations to keep in mind during your product development. The following sections provide links to the each area product development for your AVS-enabled device.

AVS UX design guidance

AVS UX guidance goes beyond audio/visual cues and on-device buttons. From branding and packaging to companion app design, the end-to-end experience on your device should be familiar and natural for customers.

Connection management, user authorization, and wake word verification

The following pages discuss how to set up connection management, user authorization, and wake word verification for AVS:

  • HTTP/2 connections – The Alexa Voice Service (AVS) exposes an HTTP/2 endpoint and supports cloud-initiated directives, which allow you to access the Alexa core features, such as timers and alarms, voice-controlled volume adjustment, and Amazon Alexa app integration. For more details, see Manage an HTTP/2 Connection with AVS
  • Login with Amazon (LWA) – Leverage LWA simplify your authentication implementation. For more details, see Login with Amazon Authorization Grants.
  • Cloud-based Wake Word Verification – Implement support for wake word-initiated user interactions for a hands-free user experience. To learn more, see Cloud-based Wake Word Verification

Streamline product development with the AVS Device SDK

The AVS Device SDK provides C++-based libraries that leverage and expose the AVS REST APIs. You can dramatically reduce your development time by leveraging the SDK to extend and customize the core Alexa features and functions as needed. The SDK supports most Echo device features, and AVS continuously adds new Alexa capabilities.

To get started with the AVS Device SDK

  1. Create an Amazon developer account
  2. Work through the tutorial to build a prototype device with a Raspberry Pi. See Set Up the AVS Device SDK on Raspberry Pi or watch the video

If you're not developing with a Raspberry Pi, the following OS-specific tutorials are available to help you get started with the SDK:

Additional AVS Device SDK options and extensions

In addition to the core AVS Device SDK, several SDK extensions are available to extend the functionality of Alexa on your device:

  • AVS Smart Screen SDK – The Smart Screen SDK enables device makers to build screen-based products that complement Alexa voice responses with rich visual experiences. See Alexa Smart Screen SDK Overview.
  • Multi-room Music – The Alexa Multi-Room Music (MRM) feature enables users to choose a specific Alexa Built-in device to play music. For more details, see Multi-room Music Extension.
  • Alexa Announcements – The Announcements feature from Alexa Communications allows users to send recorded audio or text-to-speech (TTS) content to play instantly on compatible Alexa devices for their household account. See Alexa Announcements.
  • Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit – The Alexa Mobile Accessory (AMA) Kit allows any Bluetooth-capable device manufacturer to enable Alexa through a Bluetooth connection. With the AMA Kit, Bluetooth devices, such as headphones, speakers, and wearable audio devices become Alexa endpoints by connecting directly with the Amazon Alexa app on a mobile device. For more details, see Alexa Mobile Accessory (AMA) Overview.

AVS REST APIs

If you don't want to use the AVS Device SDK, or prefer to customize and extend features, such as Alerts and Notifications? Read the Feature Guides and API Reference docs for details on each interface.

Hardware

In addition to integrating AVS into your device software, you also have many options for device hardware. Read the following documentation to help determine which hardware choices are the best for your device:

  • Audio hardware configuration options – As you design your product, consider the hardware-related options related to the audio interactions for your device. For a discussion of device options for form and function, seeAudio Hardware Configurations
  • Recommended media support – To provide a familiar Alexa experience to your users, make sure that your device supports the recommended codecs, containers, streaming formats, and playlists. For more details, see Recommended Media Support
  • Hardware development kit options – To accelerate your hardware development, consider choosing a reference solution for Alexa Built-in products. These audio front-end (AFE) and single-chip-solution development kits support on voice interactions, reducing cost and accelerating the integration process. Select the kit that matches the number of mics, mic arrangement, and audio algorithms your product needs. To review available AVS hardware development kit options, see Hardware Development Kits.

Testing and certification

Commercially distributed products must meet all AVS product requirements. To validate these requirements, follow the steps for testing and certification:

  1. Learn about the Product Testing Process.
  2. Conduct your own Self-testing on your device following the specifications in the Acoustic Testing Guides.
  3. Coordinate with an Authorized Security Labs to have your device undergo a security assessment.
  4. Submit your self-test results to Amazon.
  5. After Amazon verifies your self-testing results, submit your device to Amazon for testing.
  6. Monitor your certification status in the AVS developer console.

Marketing

Teach your users about Alexa through promotional materials and advertising. Amazon has published requirements for press releases, packaging, retail fixtures, websites, crowdfunding sites, Amazon product detail page content, and videos.

Need help?

Submit your questions, comments, and issues to the AVS Knowledge Base and Forum. Amazon support actively monitors and responds to developer feedback and concerns.