Since 2014, Amazon Alexa has delighted customers and inspired hundreds of thousands of developers to build with voice. What started as an idea to make customers lives easier has now become a way for businesses and voice pioneers to solve real problems…and entertain their customers along the way.
In 2017, tens of millions of new Amazon Echo customers discovered the magic of hands-free voice control by trying Alexa for the first time. The rising popularity of voice also inspired many of you to integrate Alexa into your own devices and launch innovative Alexa-enabled products. In just the last year, millions of customers have also talked to Alexa through third-party Alexa-enabled products from brands like Sonos, ecobee, Logitech, Anker, and more.
At CES 2018, we saw your hard work come to life, bringing Alexa to new categories and enabling voice control on products, from light switches and smoke alarms to microwaves and automobiles. You can now ask Alexa for directions to the movies or ask Alexa to make popcorn and turn on Prime Video at home. We’re excited to see what you’ll build next.
Device Makers Continue to Invent New Products with the Alexa Voice Service
A larger variety of Alexa-enabled products means even greater choice for customers. To date, brands have launched over 50 products with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) built-in, and dozens more were announced at CES 2018, pushing voice-forward design into new areas. Now, it’s easy for customers to add Alexa to every room in the home, at the office, in the car, and on the go. Here’s a few of the latest announcements from CES:
Alexa for PC will bring the cloud-based voice service to PCs with the Windows operating system, and will soon be available on computers from HP, Lenovo, Acer, and ASUS, all powered by Intel technology.
Jabra, Cleer, and Beyerdynamics all announced new headphones with access to Alexa, helping customers bring everything they love about Alexa on-the-go. We recently introduced the Alexa Mobile Accessories Kit, which makes it even easier to build portable Alexa-enabled devices and will be used by companies like Bose, iHome, and Bowers and Wilkins.
And Sound United unveiled the first sound bar with Alexa built-in under the Polk brand, elevating home entertainment for customers.
Alexa is also coming to the car. At CES, Toyota, Panasonic, Elektrobit, Faurecia, and Byton all announced that they will be building in-car Alexa experiences for customers. These brands join companies like BMW and Ford to bring Alexa to the road. Device makers Garmin and Anker also introduced new Alexa-enabled products that help customers bring Alexa into the vehicle of their choice.
We continue to work with leading technology providers to bring simpler ways to build Alexa-enabled products, which ultimately offers more choices to customers. Qualcomm, Amlogic, and Allwinner announced the industry’s first qualified ARM-based single-SoC solutions for AVS that provide simplified architecture, high performance, and low total bill of materials cost. We introduced the Alexa Premium Far-Field Voice Development Kit that offers the best of Amazon far-field voice capture technology from Amazon Echo and Echo Show.
In the 18 months since the first AVS device launched, tens of thousands of you have invested resources in creating amazing, new Alexa-enabled products. Because of your dedication and creativity in building with voice and Alexa, customers can now reach Alexa through smart speakers, sound bars, thermostats, smart phones, home appliances, PCs, TVs, wearables, hearables, in-car accessories, head-unit integrations, light switches, mirrors, smoke detectors, set-top boxes, and more.
Smart Home Developers Connect the Modern Home with Alexa
Customers tell us all the time that the ability to control their smart homes with Alexa is delightful and that it simplifies their lives. Now, turning on the lights, adjusting the thermostat, or voice-controlling the TV is as easy as just asking Alexa.
In 2017, we introduced enhancements to the Alexa Smart Home Skill API that made it possible for you to build skills to control smart home cameras, entertainment devices such as smart TVs, and cooking appliances. Customers have already connected tens of millions of smart home devices to Alexa, including lighting, door locks, entertainment devices, thermostats, smart home cameras, and more.
At CES 2018, Sony, TiVo, and Hisense unveiled new Alexa smart home skills that enable customers to voice-control the TV experience. Home appliance makers such as Whirlpool, Delta, LG, and Haier added new skills to help people control all aspects of their home, from TVs and microwaves to air conditioning units and faucets. In all, more than 4,000 smart home devices from over 1,200 brands can be controlled with Alexa.
Voice is the unifying force in smart home technology, and we’re motivated by your creativity. Bringing new hands-free Alexa experiences to the home is helping customers see – now more than ever – that the smart home is becoming simple and convenient.
Alexa Skill Developers Enrich Catalog, Delight Customers
Alexa is not only being integrated into more devices; the cloud-based voice service is also growing smarter every day. In 2017, we launched more than 100 new products, programs, features, and tools in the Alexa Skills Kit to help developers give voice to their vision. And you’ve taken our tools to create more than 30,000 skills, more than doubling our skill catalog in just a year. These innovations include voice-first, multimodal skills that leverage our display templates to marry the magic of voice with a screen to enable new scenarios on Echo Show and Echo Spot. Your work has made things faster, easier, and more delightful with voice—and customers have taken notice. Skill engagement has grown by nearly 75% since last January. Four out of five Alexa customers have used Alexa to engage with your skills.
Developers Can Make Alexa More Fun
Customers can now look to Alexa to provide fun for the whole family through engaging, voice-first games. During the holidays, we introduced Echo Buttons, the first product from a new category called Alexa Gadgets, that offer customers a whole new way to play games with Alexa. Powered by the Gadgets APIs, Alexa Gadgets are Alexa-connected products designed to enhance voice interactions with Echo devices. Customers were excited about Echo Buttons as stocking stuffers, and Buttons sold out just in time for the holidays.
Through the Gadgets Skill API and the Gadgets SDK, developers can build fun experiences and products that turn an Echo device into a hub for interactive play. At CES 2018, we shared more detail about the Gadgets SDK and announced the Alexa Gadgets Dev Kit. Currently available through an invite-only program, the Alexa Gadgets Dev Kit is designed to help device makers easily create their own Alexa Gadgets. Sign up to learn more.
Build with Alexa in 2018
Hundreds of thousands of developers around the world are building Alexa experiences with the Alexa Voice Service and Alexa Skills Kit. Where the technology goes next will be up to the pioneers who continue to innovate with the technology and delight their customers. What will you create this year?
Learn how to integrate Alexa into your product with the Alexa Voice Service, teach Alexa new capabilities with the Alexa Skills Kit, or connect your device to Alexa with the Smart Home Skill API and Gadgets API.
Source: Alexa Developer Blog