Video: Custom Alexa skills: How the average person can make one in minutes
Amazon has opened up Alexa to the masses, likely to set the stage for an Alexa Skill sprawl and to enable parents to annoy kids with corny jokes. And it's kinda brilliant.
The company launched Alexa Skill Blueprints, a series of fill-in-the-blanks templates, that allow anyone to create a custom Alexa Skill in a few minutes. The code-free approach has 20 Skill Blueprints that revolve around things like family history, house instructions, and bad Dad jokes.
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I gave Alexa Blueprints a spin and it operated as advertised. It really only took a few minutes, but then again, I wasn't looking to change the world. All I was aiming for was to have Alexa remember the Wi-Fi password so I didn't have to ask my daughters (again). The Alexa Skills you create only appear on devices registered to your Amazon account.
Alexa Skill Blueprints will soon be like space junk as everyone becomes a developer. Why did we build that Alexa Skill? Because we can. Amazon emphasized that there's no limit to the numbers of skills you can create.
Now, Amazon started with templates for house guests guides, babysitter directions, trivia, compliments and stories, but the company will build out the Alexa Blueprint library.
Once I got over the initial gimmicky phase, it became clear that Alexa Blueprints are strategic on many fronts. In addition, these personalized Alexa Skills will just add to the smart home, e-commerce, and ecosystem moat that surrounds Amazon's business. Consider the following:
- Amazon with Alexa Blueprints is doing what Apple can't (or wouldn't do) and Google lacks the DNA for.
- Alexa becomes part of every family as soon as the personalized skills get rolling.
- Kids, and potentially future developers, are going to be building these family Alexa Skills. These budding developers are likely to be AWS customers in the future.
- Alexa Blueprints represent a nice test bed for Alexa for Business. Company specific templates are likely to follow down the road. Read also: Alexa for Business likely to win in smart office, leverage AWS, Echo, developers and consumers
- Personalization matters and the low-code approach is uniquely customer specific. Read also: Hey Alexa! Hey Google! Smarter IoT is all about context | Alexa: The good, the bad, and the creepy
- Naturally, you'll interact with Alexa more, make the assistant smarter and ultimately shop more on Amazon.
Add it up and Alexa Blueprints could become a personalized competitive advantage. Amazon also gets a nice narrative for Alexa and the move to open up family Alexa Skills is just good business.
Read also: Re:Invent 2017: AWS all about capturing data flows via AI, Alexa, database, IoT cloud services| Cheat sheet: Alexa for Business (TechRepublic) | Amazon AI: The smart person's guide | How to become an Alexa developer: The smart person's guide