Alexa, Amazon Echo's intelligent voice assistant, now offers more than 1,000 third-party skills, thanks to innovators like Uber and SciFutures jumping into the fray.
A large developer network has been working to build out utilities that support functions on Amazon Echo, Fire TV, Tap, and other Alexa-enabled smart home appliances. It puts Amazon well ahead of the competition, Google Home. The developers have been working to build utilities for Alexa like Chore Minder from SciFutures aimed at teaching kids to say "please" and "thank you."
"Children yell at Alexa and treat her like a slave," said Ari Popper, a futurist and CEO of SciFutures. "They're rude."
The simple-to-use utility -- Chore Minder -- requires the child to say "please" and "thank you." Fostering polite interaction with Alexa, the utility tracks chores throughout the week and rewards the child for positive actions such as when she takes out the trash, cleans her room or washes the dishes.
In addition to SciFutures, developers from companies like Capital One, Domino's, Fitbit, Kayak, and Samsung have been working to extend the platform to allow users to call up information about their food orders, health, and travel plans just by speaking commands.
Developers use the Alexa Skills Kit to build skills for Alexa. They can also create custom skills with ASK by designing their voice UI and simply building cloud-hosted code that interacts with Alexa cloud-based APIs to process customer requests. Alexa does the work to hear, understand, and resolve the customer's spoken request, and then maps the service call to the developer's endpoint.