Book Image

Alexa Skills Projects

By : Madhur Bhargava
Book Image

Alexa Skills Projects

By: Madhur Bhargava

Overview of this book

Amazon Echo is a smart speaker developed by Amazon, which connects to Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service and is entirely controlled by voice commands. Amazon Echo is currently being used for a variety of purposes such as home automation, asking generic queries, and even ordering a cab or pizza. Alexa Skills Projects starts with a basic introduction to Amazon Alexa and Echo. You will then deep dive into Alexa Programming concepts such as Intents, Slots, Lambdas and maintaining your skill’s state using DynamoDB. You will get a clear understanding of how some of the most popular Alexa Skills work, and gain experience of working with real-world Amazon Echo applications. In the concluding chapters, you will explore the future of voice-enabled applications and their coverage with respect to the Internet of Things. By the end of the book, you will have learned to design Alexa Skills for specific purposes and interact with Amazon Echo to execute these skills.
Table of Contents (14 chapters)
Title Page
Packt Upsell

Chapter 1. What is Alexa?

"I definitely saw some power in voice. It's a very powerful form of storytelling."

– Akilah Bolden-Monifa

For our human ancestors, as their brains evolved, so did their language, from signs and sounds to a more sophisticated form of oral speech, which made them capable of having complex conversations to form the social ties required for their survival. Unlike written communication, oral speech leaves no traces of its own, hence it was hard for historians to calculate an exact date for the origin of speech. However, using various methods, historians have speculated that speech was developed 300,000 years ago, symbols 30,000 and writing 7,000 years ago. Ever since then, humans have been putting speech and voice to various creative uses.

In this chapter, we shall explore one such use of our voice, the ability to command interactive voice-based personal assistants to perform specific tasks at will. Also before that, we will also understand what an intelligent voice-based personal assistant is, what needs it fulfills, and what voice-based personal assistants are available (including Alexa) in the current market by going through the following topics:

  • The Need for Voice-Based Personal Assistants
  • Applications of Voice-Based Personal Assistants
  • A Comparison of Various Voice-Based Personal Assistants

So, let's move on to our first topic.