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Alexa is Amazon’s smart virtual assistant released in November 2014 and is already changing the way we bank, shop, order food, and much more. Alexa is available on Amazon’s Echo products, including the Echo Dot and the Echo Look. However, it’s important to remember that Alexa isn’t the actual device, but the smart virtual assistant inside. This is because Alexa goes far beyond the echo devices. Alexa can live in your fridge, in your car, and even inside of a fish.
For stuff that Alexa doesn’t yet support, brands have a huge opportunity in filling in those gaps with branded custom skills. Alexa’s skill repertoire is growing each day, with over 10,000 skills available in Australia, and 30,000 in the US. Currently, there are 3 types of Alexa Skills 3rd parties can create; Custom Skills, Flash Briefings, Smart Home Skills.
“Alexa, ask Domino’s to order my usual”
Custom Skills are the main skill type that Alexa offers, and the most powerful skill category. Brands can create in-depth voice experiences, with thousands of different ways for the user to interact with them. They can link up to accounts, save user data, play sound tracks, and engage in deeper conversations. The possibilities for these skill types are growing every day.
“Alexa, what’s my flash briefing?
Flash Briefings are linked up to an RSS feed and can be read out each morning, alongside the traffic, weather and news. If your brand is about delivering important topics daily to a user, this skill type is for you. This skill type is the quickest to set up, however, offers no personalisation, or back and forth conversation.
“Alexa, ask furbo to toss a treat”
Smart Home skills are how Alexa can control your IoT devices. You can dim your lights, turn on a kettle, or start your car. Essentially, smart home skills make Alexa tell devices to do things. When a user links a smart home appliance to Alexa, they can give it a name, and can easily control anything in the home with their voice.