Amazon has introduced Alexa Skill Blueprints. This is a way to create your own personalised skills and responses for Alexa. It's a set of templates you can take advantage of to create customised experiences just by filling in the blanks. Digital assistants are finally set to become a two-way partnership.
Alexa Skill Blueprints works by filling in a series of blanks in a template. You can customise responses to questions like “Alexa, what is the best city?" or “Alexa, who has the best sense of humour?” You can also make a skill for the babysitter to help them when you're not around.
You can even use Skill Blueprints to create an interactive adventure story with your child as the lead character, “Alexa, start Anna’s Story”. The skills and responses you create with Alexa Skill Blueprints will be available instantly on the devices associated with your account.
Creating your own Alexa skill and responses is simple. Here are the chief steps:
- Select your Blueprint template by visiting the Alexa Skill Blueprints website and choose from the more than 30 Skill Blueprints across four categories; Fun & Games, At Home, Storyteller, and Learning & Knowledge
- Either use the pre-configured content or customise as you like
- With just one click your skill will be available on all Alexa-enabled devices associated with your Amazon account. You can also see the list of skill Blueprints in the “Private Skills” section of the Alexa App.
- Launch your personal skill just use the relevant name you’ve chosen, for example “Alexa, Open House Guest” or “Alexa, start Dave’s story.”
While digital assistants have been around for a while now, most of the user experience has been dictated by developers. This step by Amazon ups the ante and may signal a time when the APIs for lots of devices are made more accessible to everyone (not just developers) so you can create your own custom commands to control all sorts of devices and to collect information from different sources.
While this move by Amazon is limited to a template-driven approach with limited functionality, it points to a longer-term strategy which will give more control over to users of the Alexa ecosystem.