Amazon Launches Alexa Device SDK

In an effort to make its Alexa virtual assistant available on more devices outside of its own hardware portfolio, Amazon last week launched the Alexa Voice Service Device SDK, providing commercial device makers with access to Amazon's developer tools to build their own products powered by Alexa.

With this launch, companies can now add a fully functional version of Alexa to their devices.

"We are excited to bring the AVS Device SDK to developers to make it easier to add voice to their products and get to market faster," said Priya Abani, director of Amazon Alexa, in a statement. "As we continue to open up new tools and resources to help commercial developers build more Alexa-enabled devices, we're offering customers more choice around where to access Alexa."

"Consumers have grown to love the conversational user interface (UI) experience, increasing demand for voice-forward products and services," Satish Iyer, senior product marketing manager of Amazon's Alexa Voice Service, wrote in an Amazon blog post.

The AVS Device SDK, Iyer said, will "further simplify the experience of voice-enabling your product. By making use of the SDK, you can quickly create device software and get to market faster with your Alexa-enabled products."

The AVS Device SDK provides C++-based libraries that enable devices to process audio inputs and triggers, establish persistent connections with AVS, and handle all Alexa interactions. The SDK also includes the capability agents that leverage the AVS API to handle core Alexa functionality, including speech recognition and synthesis, and other capabilities, such as streaming media, timers and alarms, notifications, weather reports, and thousands of custom skills.

Amazon worked with more than 50 commercial device makers during an invite-only developer preview of the SDK. Among them was Technicolor, which used the AVS Device SDK to bring Alexa functionality to its Home Networking Gateway and Extender.

"We've enjoyed the flexibility of the AVS Device SDK," said Alan Mottram, senior vice president of business development, strategy, and marketing at Technicolor, in a statement. "With modular and extensible components, we've been able to quickly and easily integrate Alexa into our software platform."

Another early adopter was Senic, a Berlin-based startup that makes smart home interfaces.

"The AVS Device SDK has enabled us to quickly integrate Alexa into COVI, our speech-enabled light and open-source smart home hub," said Tobias Eichenwald, CEO and co-founder of Senic, in a statement. "By providing the proven client software, the SDK makes our development time much faster and saved our team a lot of development time."

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