Last month, Amazon released Alexa Skills Kit, which allows outside developers to create new services to work with the voice-activation technology.
Developers can use the Smart Home API to enable smart home capabilities, such as controlling lights, door locks or alarms. They also can create custom skills using the ASK to design their voice user interface, and building cloud-hosted code that interacts with cloud-based APIs.
Among the companies drawn to Alexa is Macadamian, which has developed two of its own skills. One is a new service called "Fantasy Scoreboards," which allows users to control a WiFi-connected National Hockey League scoreboard when connected to Amazon Echo.
The company initially explored voice interaction through phone -- like with Siri on iOS -- before shifting to Alexa. Noted by Martin Larochelle, chief architect of Macadamian.
The company previously developed a skill to send text messages using the Twilio API. It is considering adding a third skill this summer, which likely will give users a way to set reminders for upcoming city services -- like recycling and garbage pickup days or other routine services.
Alexa Skills Kit is a free SDK for developers, providing a low-friction way to get an Alexa skill up and running within the space of a few hours. No experience in speech recognition or natural language is required, as Amazon handles the chore of understanding spoken word requests.
AWS Lambda can help in the development process, Amazon noted, as it runs the developer's code in response to triggers, and manages compute resources in the AWS Cloud.