Amazon Alexa Updates: Third-Party Apps are Added to Alexa Routines

a black Amazon Alexa on a wood table

Remember the days when we had to walk outside to know what the weather was like, walk into a restaurant to order coffee, and turn on the radio to hear some music? Well, most of these things can now be done by touching a few buttons on your smartphone or by speaking to your voice assistant device. However, things have just gotten even easier (if that’s even possible). Amazon Alexa skill developers can now integrate their third-party apps into Alexa routines. This means greater variety of routine combinations as well as an increased user engagement and user experience.

What are Amazon Alexa Routines and Skills?

For those of you who are not familiar with the Amazon Alexa, routines and skills are two key components of this cloud-based voice service. Routines tie multiple actions in a single command. An example of a routine would be saying “Alexa, good night” to your Amazon Alexa which would trigger the device to turn off the lights, play Alexa sleep sounds, and turn on the do not disturb setting all from this one voice command. Skills are a set of built-in voice-driven capabilities and are similar to apps on your smartphone.

What the Addition of Third-Party Skills in Routines Means

Alexa routines already exist, but the addition of third-party skills to these routines now means that the potential routine combinations are much larger than before. For example, the command “good morning, Alexa” may have given you the latest news, but now in addition to the news, this command can start a third-party song playlist as well as order a coffee from your favorite coffee shop. The ability to implement multiple skills at once and not individually increases the likelihood that the user will use the skill more often, increasing the daily engagement. This is good news for the Alexa skill developer community.

Improvement and Updates for Alexa Skills

With this Alexa routine expansion, Amazon created three ways for skill developers to improve and update their Alexa skills. These three new tools are the NLU Evaluation Tool, Utterance Conflict Detection, and Get Metrics API. All of these tools work together to create the best user experience possible through speech testing, software checks, and performance analysis.
The amount of possible routine combinations from the latest update is exciting to think about. This update is sure to make users’ lives easier, better, and smarter than ever. We are excited to see what is to come from this latest Amazon Alexa update.

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