Amazon sought to differentiate its Alexa voice assistant from a growing range of rival products by releasing templates enabling users to create customised interactions.
The company released more than 20 Alexa Skill Blueprints designed to boost personalisation of devices running the assistant and, in turn, increase the usefulness of those products in consumers’ homes. In a statement, Amazon said the tailored services will only be available on devices registered to users’ accounts with the company.
Steve Rabuchin, VP of Amazon Alexa, said the templates are “an entirely new way for you to teach Alexa personalised skills” without requiring any coding experience.
Skills launched cover areas including customised questions and answers enabling, for example, homeowners to provide information to visitors; family jokes and trivia; and knowledge tests.
To add skills, users select a template on Amazon’s website, fill in the blanks and publish it. Amazon said the published responses will be available “instantly” across all devices associated with a user’s account. Users can return to the website to edit published skills as needed.
The feature sets Amazon’s Alexa apart from competitors like Google and Apple, which don’t include similar capabilities in devices using their respective voice assistants.
Amazon stole a march in the voice assistant market by incorporating Alexa into its Echo smart speaker range. At the close of Q4 2017, Amazon held a 52 per cent share of the global smart speaker market, compared with Google Home’s 36 per cent.
Alexa Skill Blueprints are only available to US users for now: Amazon didn’t say when it might expand the capability to other countries.