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

Anatomy of an Alexa Skill

In this section, we will strive to understand what makes Alexa, the personal assistant bundled with Amazon Echo, so smart. The sole reason that Alexa can follow and understand a user's voice commands is because it has skills, and not just in a literal sense, but also in an actual sense.

An Alexa Skill is an actual piece of software code designed for a singular purpose; that is, to make Alexa accomplish a certain task. The following are some examples:

  • There is an Alexa Skill to order pizza from Domino's Pizza
  • There is an Alexa Skill to summon Uber
  • There is an Alexa Skill to order flowers
  • There is an Alexa Skill to listen to your horoscope

The number of skills available for Alexa has been steadily growing since 2016. As of early 2018, there are over 30,000 third-party skills available for Alexa in the US alone:

Figure 2.6: Growth statistics for Alexa's third-party skills

Once the user has configured the Amazon Echo device, as shown in the previous section, installing/enabling...