Amazon’s speech recognition “Alexa” sweeps the world’s IoT and is becoming the champion of “next to smartphone” platform.
Amazon began work on building the ecosystem of the voice service “Alexa” which is the brain of “Echo”. This effort consists of three pillars: Software Development Kit (SDK), Measures for Third Party Hardware Vendors, and Investment Fund of $ 100 Million.
Amazon released a new measure in just a few days after the general release of Echo in the US. Echo became a topic after the announcement, and many developers show interest. Amazon’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos commented, “After Amazon Echo’s announcement, we’d like to inquire from all sizes of development companies, hardware manufacturers and startup companies that want to innovate with this new technology. There was. ”
The provided SDK is named “Alexa Skills Kit” and consists of a series of application programming interfaces (API) for the development company to create audio functions for Alexa.
What Does It Mean For Businesses
In order to have Alexa used by third parties and developers, Amazon released the speech recognition function called Alexa Voice Service (AVS) and defined the framework of content creation called Alexa Skill Kit (ASK). In ASK, developers can let Alexa handle various orders using an add-on called skill (skill).
For example, Skill developed by Domino Pizza allows Alexa to order pizza, and Uber Skill allows Alexa to arrange a dispatch service. Amazon’s aim is to make everyday life more comfortable by talking to Alexa with Echo or Fire TV.
Of course, you can also use Alexa for shopping at Amazon. Various services such as activity checker Fitbit, music streaming service Spotify, smart light bulb hue and so on successively made Skill, the third-party Alexa compliant Skill exceeded 5000 at the time of article creation, services using Alexa are definitely increasing.
Alexa is the wake word and starts the conversation. Your service gets called when customers use your invocation name, such as “Alexa, ask Greeter to say hello world.” This example is a simple command-oriented one. ASK also supports sophisticated multi-command dialogues and parameter passing. An example could be like this:
User: Alexa! get me appointments
Alexa: what is your secret key
User: Secret Key is 12345
Alexa: what date you would like
User: 24th Jan 2016
Alexa: Here are all list of appointments
With a voice centric platform like this, businesses can set their operations using custom Alexa skill sets using the database of their choice. This also goes to the eCommerce stores but the degree of the usability of this service can be much higher for them as they can introduce custom skill sets for their customers and receive orders through voice.
We can discuss it in another article that how it can transform the eCommerce industry. In addition, Amazon has opened an Alexa simulator called “Echosim.io” in order to expand the usage scene of Alexa which is limited to Echo, Fire TV, etc.
This is that you can use Alexa just like talking to Echo if you talk to a website using a microphone. In other words, Amazon is beginning to improve the environment so that every web service can use Alexa.
The Future of Alexa As The Next Big Thing
The future that Amazon is looking at Alexa is “being next to smartphones” by Amazon’s Amit Jotwani. Computing has evolved from a PC using an interface centered around a mouse and a keyboard to a smartphone using a touch interface, but next to the touch interface of the smartphone era, the next “voice interface” of the IoT era is Amazon that is why I am thinking about it.
Ben Thompson of Stratechery points out that Alexa in this IoT era “fulfills the function of OS”. In other words, when thinking that “OS is platform / software that mediates between hardware and various software groups”, Windows handles PC hardware and various software, Android has hardware called smart phone and various applications.
In short, Amazon is trying to raise Alexa into an operating system as a dominant hub to handle products related to daily living such as smart appliances.
Ford, the automaker who decided to adopt Alexa as soon as possible, told Alexa in the car, not only how to use traditional voice assistant functions like Siri and Google Now to inquire about the match result of the favorite sports team, We propose how to use unique Alexa, such as operating a shutter of a garage at home while driving and ordering products without stopping by a supermarket.