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📰 News and Stories

74% of consumers say they have used voice search in the past month: Voice-based user interfaces are gaining popularity and have changed how we interact with computers. Astonishingly, nearly 1 in 5 US adults have access to a smart speaker, and the adoption of voice-powered devices has grown to 47M in just two years. Consumer experience has well and truly entered an ‘automation apocalypse’ – 74% of consumers say they have used voice search in the past month, while daily use is up 27% compared to last year (HubSpot). In 2017, 35.6 million Americans used a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month – a jump of 128.9% over the previous year (eMarketer).

SoundHound to Power Motorola’s Moto Voice Feature: SoundHound Inc. announced last Friday a new partnership with Motorola to integrate Houndify with Motorola’s Moto Voice. Moto Voice is Motorola’s voice assistant which allows users to make calls, send text messages, get weather, directions and more. Amir Arbabi, VP of Business Development at SoundHound Inc. commented,"Motorola is dedicated to bringing the best technology to its users, as demonstrated by the use of our Houndify platform to deliver the fastest, most accurate natural language voice experience."

Volvo Creates Fleet Management Alexa Skill: Photo Courtesy of Volvo Truck Fleet Programs
This week Volvo launched a new Alexa skill called Volvo Fleet Manager. The skill is for Volvo’s fleet customers, and is in its trial phase. Users will be able to request Volvo fleet management services such as detailed information about a car, access Volvo contacts, book a demonstrating car model, and listen to Volvo news. Steve Beattie, Head of Business Sales at Volvo Car UK, comments, "With the Volvo Fleet Manager Skill, we continue to bring our fleet customers innovative solutions which harness the latest technology to make their lives easier. This new service allows our clients to use Alexa to get the information they need on the go, in real time, right down to understanding the CO2, BIK and P11D implications of our models."

In-Skill Purchasing Offers Jeff Bolton’s Voice Business a New Level of Monetization: From launching startups to helping build a $3 billion e-commerce giant, 20-year software veteran Jeff Bolton knows a thing or two building a business. When he first learned about Alexa, he was intrigued by the possibilities of building a new company based on voice technology. That curiosity eventually led him to start Voice Apps, a voice design studio focused exclusively on Alexa skills.

📓 Tutorials and Opinions

Best Practices to Streamline the Alexa Skill Certification Process, Inspired By You: 1. Write an Informative and Accurate Skill Description, 2: Leverage Your Interaction Model for Your Example Phrases, 3: Help the Customer Navigate Your Skill, 4: Provide Access to the Certification Team, 5: Set Up Discoverable Devices with Regional Endpoints.

Which Type of In-Skill Product Is Right for Your Alexa Skill?: With a variety of in-skill products to offer, it’s important to think about which one can help you best enhance your skill through premium content. Before you start adding in-skill products, consider which product type aligns with your skill’s experience and can make your voice experience more delightful and engaging.To help you out, the author of this tutorial covers the three types of in-skill products and share ideas for using each of them in your own skills.

How to Localize Your Alexa Skills: It is simple mathematics: the more customers you reach, the more likely they are to discover and engage with your skill. Therefore, we always suggest developers localize and publish skills in as many languages as possible. The process of extending your code to other languages can be a time-consuming, albeit worthwhile, process. It takes time to translate and you may need to hire external translators if you don’t know multiple languages. Depending on how you architect your code, it might add significant overtime in terms of back-end development.

📆 Upcoming Events

Alexa Sessions You Won’t Want to Miss at AWS re:Invent 2018 (Las Vegas, November 26-30): This year, we will have over 50 Alexa technical sessions, hands-on workshops, and interactive chalk talks to help attendees learn to design voice experiences and dive deep into the technology behind the Alexa Skills Kit, Alexa Voice Service, and Alexa smart home. You’ll hear from senior evangelists, product leaders, and engineers, and learn best practices from Alexa developers.