Voice Tech Podcast
Published in

Voice Tech Podcast

New Amazon Developer Tools -Everything and Anything in One Place

Amazon unleashed the new Amazon developer tools during Alexa Live today.

A popular virtual summit for vendors and developers, Alexa Live marked the monumental moment of Amazon revealing that it will let developers deep-link skills to mobile apps.

The company unveiled deep neural networks that solely aim to make the understanding of Alexa natural language more accurate. Amazon also went ahead and launched Alexa conversations that let developers curate more natural-feeling apps with fewer lines of code, thanks to deep learning. It also rolled out Alexa for Apps, a new service that invokes actions like searches in smartphone applications.

Why did they decide to roll this feature out now?

It’s no news that voice-based searches have skyrocketed during these tough times. Reports state that voice-based searches and technology usage witnessed an upsurge between early 2020 to April. No wonder the new Amazon developers tool debuted itself now.

Amazon is working this cause to its advantage and is on a roll by debuting tons of new voice technology features every month. More than a third of smart speaker parents confessed using their devices to listen to entertainment, music, news, and podcasts more than ever before.

“Research data also shows that users request their smart speakers to perform 10.8 tasks in a week on an average. At least one to two tasks every day!”

How does the new Amazon Developers tool work?

Thanks to the new Amazon developers tool, the deep neural networks for natural language understanding improve intent and slot value recognition by 15%. Intents are actions that carry out a user’s command. They usually denote the names and comments said by a user that invokes the intent. Dates, lists of items, and phrases make for Slot value.

The new Amazon developers tool kit or NFI Toolkit allows developers a choice to provide Alexa with additional signals regarding their app’s requests. Such as alternate launch phrases that shall launch intents and apps while Alexa is routing name free-requests. She would then go on to see the customer’s used path to trigger the app from a dashboard.

In total, the team unveiled around 31 new skills for over 700,000 developers who have helped in building Alexa skills till date.

Build better voice apps. Get more articles & interviews from voice technology experts at voicetechpodcast.com

The Highlight: Alexa Conversations

Amazon’s re Mars Conference held last year in June unveiled Alexa Conversations that helps in mitigating the lines of code. It reduces the necessary lines of code altogether to help create voice apps, dropping from as high as 5,500 to 1,700.

Amazon also confessed that this reduced Alexa interactions that usually took 40 exchanges for a dozen or more. They could only make this possible by leveraging AI to understand utterances and intents better. The new Amazon developers tool kit shall spare developers the hassles of too many coding lines to develop a voice app.

A dialogue simulator and conversation-first are the two innovations that power conversations’ dialogue manager. The former generalizes a small number of dialogues provided by the developer and the latter leverages the same to train deep-learning models to support dialogues beyond the paths offered by the sample dialogues.

Efficient much?

The new Amazon developers tool has another function. To describe the app’s functionality, Developers provide API access and the entities the API might have access to. These coupled with a few example changes can help Conversations dialog manager to extrapolate the probable dialog turns.

Demoed last year was Conversations’ first use case where it smoothly strung the Alexa apps together. It let people purchase movie tickets, call cabs, and book restaurant reservations. Fresko defines this as a skill of Conversations, how it can seamlessly combine parts from every app without needing much help from the developer.

Alexa Presentation Language

The new Amazon developers tool features a toolset called Alexa Presentation Language. The toolset makes it easier for developers to create visual Alexa Apps. The APL for Audio features mixing abilities, which means that the developers can create audios and soundscapes and add them to their apps. They can mix Alexa speech with them, along with multiple voices mixed with sound effects and also sync visuals with clips that will vigorously respond to users.

Can’t Get Enough of Experimentation

The Skill Resumption features aids developers to experiment with background running apps on devices integrated with Alexa. It basically keeps an app’s logic intact to increase customer engagement or start exactly where the customers left it.

Fresko gave an example. Where he said the supposedly you asked Alexa to hail a cab and immediately switched to a music app, or weather app or any other app while you’re waiting for your cab. Due to this feature, when your cab is near your location, Alexa will pop the Uber app up to notify you that your ride is here.

Thanks to Skill Resumptions integrated into the new Amazon developers tool, developers can now assign tasks like launching an app’s homepage, or search results, and other key features through Alexa app voice commands.

He gave an example of the camera app syncing an Alexa commands with the shutter button, or how ByteDance integrated the Alexa skill where users said “Alexa, ask TikTok to start my recording.” to record clips.


Developers can leverage deep linking even further with the help of the QuickLinks feature. This feature of the all-new Amazon developers tools will help them drive traffic to voice apps through mobile apps and websites.

They can use URL Query string parameters to deep-link to the specific content of their apps, and can also add attribution parameters to measure the performance of their online ad campaigns.

Fresko said that this feature primarily helps customers to find skills, and developers to market their skills.

This isn’t It.

If you think this is all that the new Amazon developers tool had in store for you, then you’re wrong. Amazon also announced that in select regions customers can purchase premium in-app content.

They are mostly consumables, monthly subscriptions, and expansion packs from Amazon.com, or even through their screens of Echo display. Previously, users could only shop these through voice.

“Even in this pandemic when the Earth has come to a halt, Amazon’s on the go. And surprisingly, with a speed more than ever before”

Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Tapaan Chauhan

Founder & CEO at Smart Voice Studio | Brand Voice Consultant | VUI Designer | Conversational AI | Voice marketing strategy designer www.smartvoicestudio.com