The new Amazon product called Alexa is making noise in the IT industry as well as in different industries that make use of it. Alexa is a voice service device that could follow commands from users. It does this by being programmed through the cloud and have codes created in the cloud to be fed to Alexa. Alexa can feed you all kinds of information. It can also power and control other Alexa-enabled devices and other devices of Amazon Echo. This ability to do commands is called a skill.
A skill is basically an ability of Alexa and it can be developed by users through different cloud-based programs. Although there are basic skills that Alexa is programmed to do, making your own skills will give you a more personalized experience. On a business scale, programming Alexa with different skills allows it to give the necessary information vital to the business. As of today, Alexa can do around 12,000 skills thanks to companies like Uber, Capital One, and Starbucks, that have adopted the use of Alexa in their business operations.
Creating a skill can be very intimidating, but you can develop skills for Alexa by Amazon. Amazon Web Service (AWS) allows you to build skills using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK). The ASK is a cloud-based kit where you can create your own skills by using drafts and sample skill codes. These will serve as your guide or your backbone in creating a skill. However, all other specifics should be filled out by you as you will see in a while.
The first step in developing an Alexa skill is to create an account on Amazon. Then you create a Lambda function. There are several kinds of skills, some of them are called Flash Briefing, Smart Home, and custom skill. Flash Briefing is concerned with giving information that the users ask for. Smart Home is when you make use of Alexa as the connector or remote that controls other house appliances that are Alexa-enabled. Lastly, custom skills are customizable skills that are more dependent on the outcome the user wants. They are customizable because users are given the freedom to create skills that will give them a more wholesome experience. It will also enable companies to make skills that are specific to their business needs.
Once you have an account and you have decided on what skill you want to add to Alexa, you can choose from the APIs the code for your skill. If you want a skill that turns off the lights in your home, then use the Smart Home Skill API. You will then get a sample code. This is just a sample so you should alter the code and put the utterances (phrases) that a person might use that Alexa should respond to. The more, the better because it allows you to have a wider range of users. Once this is done, you can now test out your code. Make sure to save this to the cloud and configure it too.