Amazon has announced the developer preview of Alexa-hosted skills for Amazon Web Services.
In a blog post on Thursday (November 15), Amazon said the new offering will automatically provision and manage a set of Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud resources for developers skill’s back-end service. With an Alexa-hosted skill, Amazon said developers can build, edit and publish a skill without leaving the Alexa Skills Kit Developer Console. With it, Amazon said developers can build skills quickly to free up time to design experiences.
“An Alexa skill consists of a front-end voice model and a back-end cloud service that processes requests and tells Alexa how to respond. Previously you had to provision and manage this backend on your own with a cloud endpoint, resources for media storage, and a code repository,” said Amazon in the blog post. “Alexa-hosted skills offer an easier option. It automatically provisions and hosts an AWS Lambda endpoint, Amazon S3 media storage, and a table for session persistence so that you can get started quickly with your latest project.”
Amazon noted developers will be able to use a new code editor in the ASK Developer Console to edit and deploy code while AWS Lambda will route the skill request, execute the skill code, and manage the skill’s compute resources. Alexa-hosted skills are now available to all developers and current supports skills that are built using Node.js version 8, Amazon said in the blog post. During the developer preview, all resources will be hosed in AWS U.S. East.
The move on the part of Amazon comes at a time when it is aiming to get Alexa in as many devices as possible. It also comes as the smart speaker industry is booming with Amazon in a battle against Google Home to maintain dominance. According to a TechCrunch report, citing Voicebot, there are currently 57.8 million adults in the U.S. who own a smart speaker. Amazon is in the lead when it comes to voice apps, with Tech Crunch reporting it passed 40,000 skills in the U.S. in September.