eCommerce giant Amazon is looking to make its voice-activated assistant Alexa available on more gadgets and devices. With voice-activated digital assistants becoming more popular, Amazon wants to differentiate by expanding Alexa’s skills and reach. As such, the company is opening the program up to outside developers.
Earlier Thursday (Aug. 17), Amazon announced news it had launched developer tools that would allow device makers to build commercial products powered by Alexa. Dubbed the Alexa Voice Service Device SDK toolset, firms can use the developer tools to add a version of Alexa to devices in production and enable speech recognition. Other Alexa capabilities can also be embedded in the devices, including content streaming, weather reports, voice apps and a host of other Alexa skills.
“Consumers have grown to love the conversational user interface (UI) experience, increasing demand for voice-forward products and services," Amazon said on its website. "As a result, Amazon extended Alexa to third-party device makers through the Alexa Voice Service (AVS), which provides the programming interfaces to easily add cloud-based intelligence and hands-free voice control to connected products.”
The toolkit was previously available on an invite-only basis, and Amazon said more than 50 companies worked to add Alexa to their devices during that time period. Amazon highlighted technology firm Technicolor, which is using the [Alexa Voice Service] Device SDK to bring Alexa functionality to its latest Home Networking Gateway and Extender, and Berlin-based hardware and software startup Senic, which is incorporating Alexa into smart home experiences.
"We are excited to bring the AVS Device SDK to developers to make it easier to add voice to their products and get to market faster," said Priya Abani, director, Amazon Alexa, in a blog post announcing the Alexa Voice Service Device SDK toolset. "As we continue to open up new tools and resources to help commercial developers build more Alexa-enabled devices, we're offering customers more choice around where to access Alexa."