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How Amazon’s Alexa Will Make Homes Smart

A robotic home assistant can’t stay useful if it doesn’t keep up with a smart home itself. So, Alexa is furthering “her” education.

ZDNet reports that Amazon has released a new API, called the Smart Home Skill API, that will allow developers to increase the capabilities of the Amazon Echo family of products — the flagship home assistant that Alexa voices, as well as the Amazon Tap and the Echo Dot — to better interface with smart home technology as it advances.

According to the outlet, the Smart Home Skill API will be an expansion of the connected home capabilities first introduced into Amazon Echo last year. The API is part of the Alexa Skills Kit, which contains home automation skills, as well as the development tools for furthering Alexa’s capabilities.

With the Smart Home Skill API, developers are able to build controls for products — such as lighting and thermostats — of most major brands in the smart home arena, reports ZDNet, including WeMo and Philips. Once integrated into Echo, smart home denizens can simply instruct Amazon to turn on lights in a certain room or adjust the internal climate to a specific temperature, and their wish is “her” command.

The outlet posits the continued advancement of Alexa and the Echo family of products — having begun (with the original Amazon Echo) with the ability to deliver weather and news updates (among other things), expanded to perform third-party, communication-based tasks (like ordering a pizza or an Uber) and now interacting with smart home technology — is a clear indicator that Amazon wants its assistant to be a big part of people’s lives … and for more of them.

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