Alexa — it’s everywhere… but what is it & why is it shaping the future?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

This year Amazon’s SVP of devices and services, Dave Limp, revealed that more than 100 million devices with Alexa built into them have been sold so far. So there’s no better time for your brand to get on board as it fast becomes the command centre of many households and businesses.

So what can you really do with Alexa?

Anything! What! Anything?  Alexa has the power of freedom. You can do nearly anything that you want with Alexa because of how open the platform is. It is estimated that 40% of all UK homes will have a smart speaker by the end of the year. You can shop online, send emails, control your lights, play music, set a burglar deterrent, set reminders or even lock your door. The possibilities are endless thanks to Alexa Skills. If there is something that you want to do with Alexa but you can’t already, create a custom skill. If you have a large reserve of time and patience, you could try making one yourself, but this is something best-suited to the professionals — contact us today to find out how Marketplace AMP can build your Alexa Skills and help to amplify your sales.

Tell me more about Alexa Skills?

Alexa Skills are the voice assistant equivalent of mobile apps that have become such an everyday staple on tablets and mobile phones. These skills are growing drastically and there are many available from big brands, such as Domino’s and Uber. A benefit for skills over traditional mobile apps is that you don’t need to download anything, it’s all there and ready to go because Alexa is entirely web based (always using the internet). This means that you just need to enable the skills that you want to use. Skills are also completely top-level, so you can get a skill to do what you want without having to go down certain paths and menus, giving you much more freedom than mobile apps.

How do you use Alexa?

Alexa is all about the wake word (set up in the app), which defaults to ‘Alexa’. That’s all you need to know. From there, you can simply ask ‘Alexa, what do I do?’ or just give a command for anything you want to do e.g. ’Alexa, play Mr Blue Sky by ELO.’ However, voice isn’t the only way you can interact with Alexa, provided you have a compatible device. If your Alexa-enabled device has a touch screen (Amazon Fire Tablet, Echo Spot, Echo Show 2nd Gen) you can do some things via touch, but voice is still the primary way of doing anything. You need to use voice to launch skills, but skills could be made to support touch input if you don’t want to talk.

So…why voice?

Voice has lots of potential and can be used in many circumstances where you wouldn’t want to use a tablet, computer or a phone. A prime example is cooking. When you are cooking, you can’t afford to stop what you are doing and it can be inconvenient to keep washing your hands every time you want to read a recipe! But voice recognition solves this problem by allowing you to hear the recipes and move on step-by-step. Voice can be used anywhere at anytime because, well, your voice is always with you and it can reach further than your hands!

If you are looking to build your own Alexa Skills, or if you need Alexa Skills support, we can help! Follow us on Linkedin and Twitter for up-to-date Amazon and Alexa posts.

Get in touch to discuss your Alexa Skill ideas that you want to make a reality or find out how else we can help to amplify your sales.

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