Smart Homes Controlled By Alexa Set To Get A Host Of New Options
Online retail giant Amazon has had a surprise hit with its virtual assistant, Alexa. The firm’s Bluetooth speaker, Echo, makes use of Alexa to carry out a number of convenient operations. It is now being used by people for everything from ordering pizza to playing music to controlling their thermostats. On the heels of its tremendous success, Amazon is now introducing open software to help make the platform more accessible to smart home gadgets.
Amazon has announced that the Smart Home Skill API is being added to the Alexa Skills Kit. This will help manufacturers of smart thermostats, switches and lights make their products work with Alexa much more quickly and easily. It will also standardize the vocabulary used to operate them so that the commands will be ones that Alexa already knows. This takes the guesswork out of using it on the users’ part.
More Choices Than Ever
Only a handful of devices, such as the Belkin WeMo Switch and the Ecobee3 thermostat, have native Alexa support, but the Smart Home Skill API is set to minimize their advantage by helping every device work with it.
Right now, the API will only work with lights, plugs, thermostats and switches. Meanwhile, Alexa Skills need to be customized via “invocation words” to use security systems, locks, home entertainment systems and garage doors for the time being. However, such devices can be controlled using the same vocabulary that is used for switches and lights.
People who use Alexa devices such as the Echo or the Tap will soon see the options available to them expand significantly as more manufacturers take advantage of the open software. Amazon’s Smart Home Skills API opened up to developers on April 5.