Amazon announced Thursday (Oct. 4) the preview of skill connections for all current Alexa locales.
In a blog post, the company said companies can use skill connections to enable increased functionality without the customers having to invoke the other skills. Amazon said it requires minimal code changes to its own skills to include printing and scheduling taxis and restaurants.
"For the developer preview, printing is provided by a skill from HP, food reservations are provided by OpenTable and taxi reservations are provided by Uber. Epson and Canon plan to provide print services soon," wrote Amazon in the blog post. "If you are accepted into the preview, you can send requests for any of these actions from within your skill, and Alexa will automatically route the request to the right service provider."
Amazon laid out an example of a gaming skill. Developers can make it possible to print game results. Another example was a skill that sells tickets. The skill can also offer to book a taxi to get to the show or make a reservation for after the show is over. That, said Amazon, removes the need for a customer to copy the address of the theater from the skill, use a different skill to get a ride and then repeat the address to the taxi skill.
“Adding printing capability enhances our skill’s overall experience for consumers. Now home cooks can easily print the recipes they want using the Allrecipes skill on Alexa, all within the same conversation,” said Corbin de Rubertis, VP of innovation at Meredith Digital, in the blog post.
Customers can apply for the preview to use print and schedule services in their own skill by providing details about the use case and skill information, and can also apply to offer services from their skill to other developers, Amazon noted. "We will select a subset of the skills that apply and provide further instructions if you’re selected. Even if you are not selected for the preview, we will let you know when skill connections become generally available," the company noted in the blog post.