At today’s Alexa Live Event for Developers, more than 50 features were announced that Alexa Skill developers will soon be able to use in their skills to make their skills even better for the user. There are also new ways to earn money and new tools. Here are the best things in summary.
Alexa Live 2021 – Features for Alexa Skill Developers
APL Widgets (Developer Preview)
A great feature in my opinion is the APL widgets. This gives developers the ability to display small widgets on the home screen. These widgets update themselves automatically and can let the user interact directly with the associated skill with a click, for example call up the news in your skill with a click.
Featured Skills Cards (Developer Preview)
The Echo Show’s home screen already shows users things like news, recipes, photos and more. Soon, select developers will be able to use Featured Skill Cards to promote their skills in the rotation of the home screen.
Matter support for Echo devices
Echo family devices are updated to work with Matter. This includes most Echo and Echo Dot devices and all Echo Studio, Echo Flex, Echo Plus, and Echo Show devices. These changes will help millions of Echo users easily set up and control Matter products with their Echo devices.
Buy Skill – Feature
Another type of monetization that developers can take advantage of. With the so-called paid skills, users pay a one-time fee in advance to access the content of your skill. Intended for premium skills and similar to the apps on the smartphone that have to be purchased in order to use them. The creation of paid skills can already begin in the coming weeks.
Alexa Shopping Actions (Developer Preview)
You want to recommend and sell products from the Amazon site directly in your skill. With the shopping actions this becomes possible similar to the normal Alexa function “pack XXX in the shopping cart” or “Alexa buy XXX”. For example, Starfinder, a science fiction role-playing game on Alexa, will use Alexa Shopping Actions to enable customers to purchase their board game.
AMAZON ASSOCIATES mit ALEXA (Developer Preview)
You can choose millions of products on Amazon.com that you want to recommend in your Skill with Shopping Actions and receive a commission for qualified product recommendations. So exactly the same procedure as when you advertise Amazon products on a website.
EVENT-BASED TRIGGERS + PROACTIVE SUGGESTIONS
Two more features for creating environmental experiences – event-based triggers and proactive suggestions. Event-based triggers and proactive suggestions can be used to create proactive experiences for users at home and on the go. For example, if a user is on their way to work, they might choose to have a skill proactively suggest locking their house. When the user starts their morning run, a skill could also suggest a playlist to listen to. Whole Foods is taking advantage of these pickup features, which will be rolled out later this year.
Alexa Entities is now generally available. With this function, the skill can retrieve information from Alexa’s knowledge graph. For example, you would like to display the population and the capital of Belgium or the average weight of a hippopotamus in the skill? With the Alexa Entities feature, you no longer have to manage this data yourself in your own catalog, but simply query it via the Graph API.
Alexa Custom Assistant
The Alexa Custom Assistant (ACA), is a comprehensive solution that makes it easy for any brand to create their own custom voice assistant, with a unique wake word, voice, personality and skills based on Alexa technology. Amazon also announced today that Verizon will soon launch a smart display (we already reported) that uses ACA technology. Verizon customers will use the Verizon Smart Display to set up their new service and manage their account, including any bug fixes, giving them more flexibility in monitoring their broadband options.
You can find all the new features on the Developer Blog from Amazon.