Amazon outlines plans for Matter, custom Alexa commands at Alexa Live developers conference – CNET
Alexa Live, the yearly conference for app developers on Amazon’s voice assistant platform, kicks off Wednesday, with more than a few surprises. For one, the Alexa developer community is much more robust than one might expect, with 900,000 developers who’ve so far built 130,000 Alexa Skills (Amazon’s brand name for Alexa apps), some of whom are raking in over $1 million a year through in-app purchases.
Those numbers come from an interview (below) with Nedim Fresko, Amazon’s vice president in charge of Alexa, who added that 140,000 different smart home products interface with Alexa. That leads into two of the other big themes of this year’s Alexa Live — ambient computing and device interoperability.
Amazon’s Fresko frames the recent boom in digital voice assistants as another epoch in the history of computing, like the revolutions marked by personal computers, the birth of the internet and the transition to mobile-first.
To help further the spread of ambient computing, Amazon announced the Alexa Custom Assistant program earlier this year, which allows other companies to lease the technology behind Alexa to create their own voice assistants, which can answer to either Alexa or a wake word of the vendor’s choosing (or both). Verizon is among the partners expected to take advantage of this capability, based on a leaked FCC filing for a Verizon smart display reported earlier this year.
For computing to become truly ambient, smart devices have to communicate with each other. That’s one reason why Matter, the smart home interoperability standard expected later this year (formerly Project CHIP), will play a key role in this year’s Alexa Live.
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Amazon says it plans to integrate Matter compatibility with Alexa devices by sending an over-the-air update to most Alexa devices currently in customers’ homes, but additional connectivity — like using Matter-compatible bridges to connect to non-Matter-enabled devices — is also in the works.
Two huge competitors in the voice assistant space — Google and Apple — have already announced plans for incorporating Matter into their respective voice assistants, Google Assistant and Siri. Google has all but confirmed that Matter compatibility means its devices, specifically its Nest smart thermostats, will integrate with competing ecosystems from the likes of Apple and Amazon.
Apple has remained a bit more tight-lipped on the subject, but did include a brief tutorial at this year’s WWDC explaining how developers can integrate Matter into their HomeKit-compatible apps. For its part, Apple says it will expand the HomeKit framework to include Matter protocols.
Another area Amazon plans to focus on during this year’s Alexa Live involves Alexa shopping actions that allow developers to earn money through Amazon’s affiliate program. Basically, developers could promote physical products through their apps or allow users to browse Amazon product listings and purchase through Alexa, with the developer earning a small percentage of the transaction if users buy them.
via CNET News https://ift.tt/2dX8g0J
July 21, 2021 at 10:01AM