My vacation with Alexa

Background:

Price: $1.29
Every vacation I used go to my native and spend my vacation with family and friends as we all used to go some local places and at least two days trip to Kodaikanal. But in this vacation, I have decided to learn something new for my own career as well as personality development. As I have written about my interest in the previous article, I keep GOTO all those “.Ai” websites to see new updates. Then I thought that instead of exploring something new topic, why not dig more into personal assistance devices. So I decided to buy anyone AI personal assistance devices. currently, there are only two options either Amazon Alexa or Google home. Before I buy anything, I usually study about the product in the original product site, review from Cnet and do the comparison.

Based on my study, Amazon Alexa is elder than Google home. So I ordered my Amazon Alexa on Amazon site just two days before my vacation start and the parcel delivered to me on my first day of Holidays start. Wow! It was very eager to see and complete the setup. While I was testing the device, my Daughter Atarah came to me and asked: “what is this dad!”. Since I was busy in setting it up, there was an answer from the kitchen (my wife🤫) that “Atarah, that is your father’s first wife, don’t disturb your father now”. Ha ha ha… After completing the setup I explained about Amazon echo to my Daughter though she is small to understand all these.

Planning:

As like Android apps, Amazon has Alexa skills app store where you can enable the skills for your Amazon echo device. So I planned to develop new Alexa skill that can narrate the story and in the middle ask you some questions.

Development Journey through Alexa Skill Kit :

The ASK (Alexa Skill kit) is the tool which can be utilized for developing the Alexa skill. To access this tool first we need to register on Amazon Developer portal. The portal has documentation for Learn, Design, Build, Launch and reach your app to the customers. Each portion of documents is very well explained to start with anyone Alexa skill development as listed below,

Smart Home Skills: This Alexa skill application can be developed for automating the home appliances based on the API that is available to use. The steps are clearly available with sample code in GitHub.

Game & Trivia Skills: This Alexa skill can be used as a sample to develop game or Trivia skills to Alexa.

Flash Briefing skills: This Alexa skill can be enabled in our Amazon Echo device which flashes and brief our desired content on daily morning or whenever we ask “Alexa, What’s my flash brief?”

Custom Alexa Skills: We are also free to develop our own custom skills for our Alexa to reach more customers to promote our own brand.

The ASK (Alexa Skill Kit) is very developer friendly with interaction model as the BETA feature available for us to easily create utterance JSON files. However, the core code (ASK currently support JavaScript, Python, Ruby) either can be deployed on your HTTPS enabled server or AWS lambda (serverless). I always prefer to use AWS lambda as it is very simple to deploy your code without worried about Apache, Nginx, etc but you would need account in AWS

HOWTO: There are so many documentation available on Amazon portal and GitHub

Apps developed by Me:

It is really eager to develop the apps for Alexa skill after went through all the development documents and sample code. Below are my Apps for details,

The first app that developed for Alexa skill, which user can enable and know about Trichy shopping place, important location, visit the place, etc. This is mainly for the travellers who want to explore TamilNadu south India. Since it is first, I was failed so many times when it was under the Amazon certification process and finally, the app got approved. After my first app deployed successfully in Amazon Alexa skill store, I was feeling like I have achieved something best on my vacation as per my plan.

The next app Clean India Facts Alexa skill App that encourages the customer to listen to the facts of clean India and take the pledge as new year resolution of India goal. While I develop this app,  I learn more about clean India purpose. Without much effort, this Alexa skill app got certified but took more than 10 days to release.

When every time the app successfully released to Alexa skill store, I really got encouraged to do one more, which resulted to create fact app that designed in the form of question and answers. So, when the user asks the Alexa, open football terminology, the app will provide information about terminologies that are used in the football match.

My kids much interact with Amazon Alexa device asking time, song and story. So I thought to have another skill for Alexa, which can narrate the Famous Lion and mouse story with an interactive model of question and answer. Now the skill certified and deployed on Alexa app store and it is really fun when kids are having the conversation with Alexa through that skill.

There are some Alexa skill apps developed and enabled for my kids to enjoy.

Usage:

Earlier days even the typical wired phones were listed under luxury item but nowadays each and everybody having the smartphone that became basic necessary items. Nowadays, most of the big companies invest more on this AI devices for any purpose. In fact, the AI device can replace the clock, Music system, Radio, calendar, family intercom, etc. So the devices are cheaper to buy and use for any purpose. As humans have two faces of positive & negative, even all the electronics devices have positive & negative and it is up to us how we use. I see these voice-enabled devices as,

  • personal assistant,
  • Engaging the kids having the good conversation in the positive approach,
  • A good Learning system,
  • Entertainment devise,
  • The safety system in perspective of Home automation & alert.

For example, my daughter who has just joined the school who knows “what is time” as she more interacts with Alexa asking the time. Also, my younger one is very small but he knows how to invoke the Alexa whenever he wants to listen to some songs. Attached some audio how they interact with Amazon Alexa.

My daughter asking Alexa to play song,

My younger son trying to talk with Alexa,

Here are some of Alexa voice-enabled devices for your reference,

Price: $129.99
Price: $229.99

 

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