Shareable Custom Alexa Skills Bring Us Closer to a Voice-First Future

Amazon continues to create a voice-first future.

In April, Amazon launched Alexa Skill Blueprints, which makes it possible for anyone to create their own Alexa skills and responses, with no coding required. And now Amazon has made Alexa Skill Blueprints shareable through channels such as Facebook, text, Twitter, and messaging apps.

With Alexa Skill Blueprints, voice becomes a source of user-generated content, such as creating skills that help the babysitter find things in your home or skills that help you learn new subjects through your own voice-based flash cards, among many other potential uses. Here’s an example of how to create your own family trivia game:

Empowering people to create their own Alexa skills without any coding experience is important to Amazon’s vision for making voice the connective tissue of commerce and everyday living. Alexa fuels an entire voice-based commercial ecosystem that includes, for example:

  • The use of Echo smart speakers to manage our smart homes, listen to music (preferably by streaming Amazon Music), and order products and services. Echo is Alexa’s primary vessel, enjoying a commanding 70 percent marketshare.

For Amazon to achieve its vision, consumers have to become comfortable using their voices to accomplish tasks that we’re accustomed to doing with our fingertips. So far, Amazon has developed thousands of skills to help us use our voices to do everything from create laundry lists to check the weather. But those skills, however useful, amount to Amazon telling us how to use Alexa. With shareable Alexa skills, Amazon accelerates the uptake of voice in two crucial ways:

  • Involving consumers in the creation of the content itself – our own custom skills (albeit using templates Amazon provides).
  • Giving us the means to share our skills with others via social.

For example, in the run-up to Father’s Day, Amazon created a World’s Best Dad template, with which users can create their own list of customized compliments and share them with Dad.

Conceivably, brands could develop ways to engage with customers through shareable skills. For example, a hotel could use Alexa Skill Blueprints to create customized content such as personalized messages or tips about new restaurants for loyal guests. Similarly, retailers could create skills that answer customers’ questions about new products lines. Customized skills are also ideal for entertainment brands such as music and film companies to create clever voice-based marketing outreach, such as skills that unlock exclusive Easter eggs.

Alexa Skill Blueprints puts the tools to build a voice-based future in the hands of people and, inevitably, brands. Making Alexa skills shareable will accelerate our journey into that future.

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