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Alexa

Amazon Launches New Alexa Skills Kit Feature for SSML Speechcons

Speechcons are special words and phrases that Alexa pronounces more expressively. Amazon has announced a new feature for its Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), delivering over 100 special words and phrases such as: abracadabra, achoo, aha, ahem, ahoy, all righty, aloha, baa, bada bing bada boom, bah humbug, bam, bang, batter up, bazinga, checkmate, cheerio, cheers, cheer up, etc. You can find the full list of supported Speechcons here: Speechcon Reference (Interjections) And, when you’re looking for even deeper learning, check out IT/Dev Connections 2017. There’s already several Alexa sessions submitted and planned for the 2017 event. Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in San Francisco in 2017!

Alexa Tip: Deeply Discounted Developer’s Course at Udemy

If you’re wanting to learn to develop for the next wave of technology, there’s no better area to focus on than voice AI.  The most popular (and continually increasing) voice AI at the moment is Amazon’s Alexa service. Udemy has discounted its Beginner to Intermediate class for developing for Alexa from $140 to just $15. Learn how to create and publish Alexa Skills, understand voice UI, and be comfortable with AWS and Alexa Skills Kit: Amazon Alexa Development: From Beginner to Intermediate And, when you’re looking for even deeper learning, check out IT/Dev Connections 2017. There’s already several Alexa sessions submitted and planned for the 2017 event. Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connect...

Use Alexa to Control Your PC or Tablet

Though a pioneer in the voice AI area, Microsoft’s Cortana is having a tough time gaining traction, even with the personal assistant being front and center on Windows 10 PCs. Amazon’s Alexa is turning out to be the bell of the ball, and many Alexa device owners are already wanting to see the next step in Alexa’s evolution by allowing her to control even Windows 10 PCs. A new Alexa skill and web service could heat up the battle for supremacy on Windows 10 PCs, pitting Alexa and Cortana in direct competition. Microsoft continues to develop Cortana for cross-platform use, delivering AI features for Android and iOS. And, while Alexa is behind in the cross-platform uptake, Alexa device customers are starting to demand it. A new Alexa skill called Whiz Screen gives a hint into some of the capabi...

Alexa Rolls out Voice Service for the UK and Germany

Today we’re excited to announce that the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is now available for developers building voice-enabled products for the UK and Germany. AVS localization provides you with language and region-specific services to expand your audience and delight new customers. With a few lines of code, you can upgrade any product with Alexa to access localized languages and skills in the UK, Germany, and US. Now your end customers can speak with Alexa and receive responses and content in their preferred language and region. Full announcement: Alexa Voice Service Now Available for the UK and Germany Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in San Francisco in 2017!

The Alexa Skill Testing Tool for Developers

If you’re a developer interested in building Alexa skills and don’t have immediate access to an Alexa device at all times, there’s a couple options for you. First, there’s the Reverb.io app and service that I talked about HERE recently. This is a great app to load on a smartphone or tablet running Android or iOS. I use it constantly on the go. Now, there’s a new option that can be run in a web browser window. The Alexa Skill Testing Tool is based on SamMachin’s Alexa in the Browser project. Using this web-based tool, you can test Alexa’s capabilities, particularly after loading new skill functions. Check it out here: https://echosim.io/ An Amazon login and access to your computer’s microphone is required. The ability to push Alexa capabilitie...

Add Alexa Voice Control to Any Car

Logitech has been working on a hands-free option for drivers to access Alexa capabilities while driving. The company has now produce and is delivering ZeroTouch, a hands-free navigation tool powere by Alexa. Available on for Android phones currently, the solution comes in two options that allows drivers to “dock” their Alexa-enabled smartphone inside the car – either on the dash or in the air vent. The air vent model is available from Amazon for $60: Logi ZeroTouch Air Vent Car Mount with Voice-Command The dash mount model is available from Amazon for $80: ZeroTouch Dashboard Car Mount with Voice Control   Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in San Francisco in 2017!

Control4 Produces an Alexa Skill for UK Users

Already available in the US, Control4 has now delivered an Alexa Skill for UK users to allow them to voice-enable their homes. The release makes Control4 the first Alexa skill for home automation to launch in the UK. The new skill is available now in the Alexa Skills store on Amazon.uk. Find out more at http://control4.com/alexa Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in San Francisco in 2017!

Alexa FAQ: Making Feature Requests

Amazon is continually improving its Alexa devices and services through updates. The updates contain fixes and improvements, and sometimes new features. How does one go about suggesting new features? The Amazon Alexa team monitors the following forum: Amazon Developer Forums (Feature Requests) As an example, the recent wake-word addition of “Computer” came through a suggestion from this forum. Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in San Francisco in 2017!

Mount Alexa Dot on a Wall and Out of Harm’s Way

Alexa is a staple companion around our house. We have both the Echo and the Dot, installed – of course – in separate rooms. I wrote recently about a couple products to make Alexa devices more portable (Turn Alexa Echo Dot and Amazon Echo into Portable Devices) and also way to make Alexa better match your home décor (Make Your Alexa Dot Work with Your Décor). The portable aspect for the Alexa Dot device really comes in handy, allowing us to skip purchasing yet another Dot device and instead just move it from room to room where Alexa is needed. But, what if you don’t need the portability of the Dot and instead want to make the device a more permanent fixture or at least give it a permanent place in a room? Or, what if you simply want to get the Dot up out of the way from ge...

DineTime Alexa Skill Updated to be More Robust

The problem with ratings is that they seem to stick forever. An app, or in this case, Alexa skill, that performs poorly during its initial release retains the same poor rating throughout the solution’s life, and sometimes that solution just can’t shake free from customer rating history. Such is the case with the Alexa skill, DineTime. DineTime is an Alexa skill that connects with in-store guest management software. The software collects waitlist data from restaurants which is then sent directly to Alexa-enabled devices in hopes of creating a seamless and precise user experience. Once the skill is enabled, Alexa users can say things like… “Alexa Ask DineTime what restaurants are nearby” “Alexa Ask DineTime for the wait time at Red Robin” “Alex...

Conexant Sets Alexa Far-Field Speech Recognition World Record

Alexa is Amazon’s version of Artificial Intelligence, enabled by its Amazon Echo and Amazon Dot hardware. Through Amazon’s API, new Alexa-enabled devices are beginning to fill gaps in the AI market, ensuring Amazon gets a leading spot in the AI market. Neither Microsoft, Apple, or Google have yet to produce successes beyond their platform OS’s. The ability to use a smart speaker from 5 meters away in a quiet room sounds impressive by today’s standards, but what about 10 meters away on the noisy roof of a high-rise building next to an airport? Or better yet – how about a record-setting 100+ meters away in the same high-noise conditions? Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Devs, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in San Francisco in 2...