Haveng you ever wondered what all those Alexa Skills are for? Wondered how to create one for your own business? Wonder no more! In this article, we’ll show you some of the coolest things Alexa can do and teach you how to create your very own Alexa Skill.
The first thing you need to know is that Alexa Skills are essentially just voice apps. Using the Amazon Developer Portal, you can create and manage your skills, including adding new features and updating your code.
There are three basic types of Alexa Skills:
-Smart Home Skills
-Music and Audio Skills
Each type has its own characteristics and usage. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
1. What is Alexa?
Amazon launched Alexa, a.k.a. the Echo, last year. The voice dictation and virtual assistant is currently in the Alexa Skills store, where you’ll find around 446,000 skills – now more than four times what they were one year ago.
The two Echos have been around for some time, but the new Echo Show marks a significant change.
Which makes it the perfect time to create, say, a new skill or update an existing one.
Her advice is: start small and make sure it makes sense to have the skill.
If you don’t really know what you want the skill to do, you can always buy examples across the web. They’re usually affordable and you’ll be able to play around with different ideas and even create your own.
2. Alexa’s Stats & Differences from Google
It’s not widely known, but Amazon owns and operates their own web server – Alexa, and hosts all this information.
Alexa is not unique in this – it is what web servers do. Usually, when you access one website, it is built for a human to view. Caching and caching servers keep copies of your most accessed pages.
Other sites also do this, but you have to find the source and measure it manually.
You can manually log into the Alexa server yourselves – if you are a developer that is – and you can track these numbers using extensions for browsers.
It does however cost Amazon a lot of money. Alexa drives up ARPU because it is more profitable to create the supplemental packages.
The 120 dollars monthly fee connects to Urban Airship. You need to use this service, which connects to major high-traffic domain.
With AWS (Amazon’s hosting service) using AWS’ services, you get a lot of free traffic. If you are just wanting to start selling real Amazon products, this will give you more product referrals.
Unfortunately, this means no high-level advertiser programs reference links, but if you’re just a kid looking for extra traffic Alexa is still a lot of fun and useful.
3. Alexa’s Favorite Websites
Today, Alexa garners information from sources like Wikipedia, imdb, webmaster tools, and if that’s not enough she may mix in her copious spare time to see which websites have the highest rankings for certain search terms.
One thing that is essential to remember is that Alexa’s interest is to get a response from you, not to impart any specific knowledge on you, even if that does make it’s the very purpose of the ranking website that is irrelevant.
Knowing this, the smarter you become to understand what Alexa queries are looking for, the more you will be able to tailor your web presence to peak her interest, getting me to trust you more and more.
You can be immense, unique, and interesting and all that.
4. Alexa’s Social Media Impact
Skills allow people to use Amazon Echo speakers without starting the machine themselves. Every command is followed up with the response “Alexa,” which launches the skills landscape.
With more than 2,600 skills developed, Amazon is the most popular platform for online businesses to market their brand.
Skills prices start at $1 per skill with a guide to see if the skill is worth pursuing. Many people just check out to see if that is the type of skill they are interested in and then sign up later to review the skill.
Once developed, all skills are hosted on funai.amazon.com.
By choosing to make the skill available, Amazon allows developers to earn 50% royalties for any sales.
Depending on which skill category it is in, the other 25% will be split between Amazon and the skill creator.
5. Weather Locator with Alexa
A good Alexa Skill topic is weather sensors, so I’d like to show you the first weather app, which can be used with smart home devices such as Echo or Echo Dot –
Note, it need just couple of lines of code for this one.
There is the data from a weather station from the government, which offers the weather report for your city, Alaska, Hawaii, and even Mr. Fix It.
The hearer can select one of the available cities or even set custom locations.
6. Conclusion: What I Hope You Learned
Alexa Skills are exactly the same as saying, “Alexa, do you do ____.” So, there is nothing new here. Instead, I’m telling you what I used to know automatically and what is missing out from these skills.
You asked me not to repeat things, and I told you I would.
Now that I’ve detailed how technologies work, I’m going to tell you about the big problems that each technology address.