Artificial intelligence · Software development

Experience with apps or "skills" for the Amazon Echo?

Ryan Weldon Founder/CEO at Breakable

May 1st, 2016

Been hearing more and more and more awesome reviews of the Amazon Echo device and I know there is the ability to build apps (also called "skills"). Wanted to hear if anyone as played around with this or working on it more seriously and what the experience has been so far. Is it too early or important to get in with amazon now? Are there plans to make it bigger? For engineers how has the actual development process been? 

Michael Barnathan

May 1st, 2016

My stopping point with them is that the user has to trigger them, rather than allowing them to be triggered by external events.

Bill French Data Sciences Architect at Intelliscape Pty Ltd

May 1st, 2016

@Ryan,

I've been deep into skills research for about two weeks now; made lots of progress.

My interest was solely focused on creating a platform for building skills for Google Apps and Drive. Ergo...

[user] Alexa, search Google Drive for documents about <x>.

[Alexa] I found 6 documents and three spreadsheets. Would you like me to text you the links?

Alexa responds to "Yes" by texting me the titles, and URLs, to each document. It also supports sending to an email inbox. I can also send (and share) to other users.

The platform is based on a Node.js Lambda proxy and requires only a few intents.

I've also been successful integrating to Salesforce data, BI systems, and other public web services. A few customers have exhibited interest in using the integration with Google Drive and Apps, but not certain if I will offer this code base for projects just yet.

I'm still evaluating Echo to see if it is useful in business context, but using Google Apps as a skills-building development environment has proved far more interesting (and more productive) than the confines of Amazon's intent patterns and Lambda functions.

Rick Stratton Great States Software / Feed.Us / MKEcribs

May 1st, 2016

I'm intrigued by the Echo aka The Alexa as well. My kids use it constantly for music and weather. I wish it did more, I've tried all the "apps".

It could be so much more useful.

Kelly Manthey Global Chief Strategy Officer

May 1st, 2016

My company is building Alexa skills for the Fortune 500. Voice UI is here and a big trend in advancing mobile & digital strategies.