Here at Integrity, we're always hungry for an opportunity to try out new paradigm-shifting technology. So when our friends at St. Louis Public Radio came to us looking to try out the new Amazon Alexa Skills platform, we said BOOM!
When Amazon released their first consumer-based voice interface technology a few years ago, the Amazon Echo, it seemed no one (aside from Amazon and Google) really understood the potential power and impact voice recognition technology would have on our lives. Initially, the Amazon Echo’s utility was relatively restricted to a few core features such as voice-controlled alarms, timers, shopping and to-do lists. It could even access Wikipedia articles to tell you more about a certain person, place or thing, but aside from that, there wasn’t much else the gadget had to offer.
Fast forward a few years from that initial release and you’ll see these devices now have access to skills built with the Alexa Skills Kit. These are 3rd-party-developed voice experiences that add to the capabilities of any Alexa-enabled device (such as the Echo, Dot or Tap). Examples of custom skills include the ability to answer basic questions, play music from Spotify, call you an Uber, and even order a pizza.
When it came to providing St. Louis Public Radio with an Alexa skill that would immediately add value for their listeners, we opted to start with building out a “Flash Briefing” skill. Flash Briefings are the most basic form of Alexa skill and simply provide the user with a short 5 - 10 minute audio feed. For St. Louis Public Radio, that audio covers the latest news happening in St. Louis. To get their Flash Briefing, all a user has to do is ask: “Alexa, what’s in the news?” or "Alexa, what's my Flash Briefing?”
Check out the St. Louis Public Radio website to learn how to set it up on your own Alexa-enabled device.
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