A free, once–weekly email roundup of Voice news and articles. Subscribe here.

📰 News and Stories

Create an Alexa Skill for Your Organization with Alexa for Business Blueprints: Private skills are voice-powered capabilities that enhance the Alexa experience while remaining private to members of an Alexa for Business organization. Skill Blueprints are so easy to use, people have used them extensively to create Alexa skills for their households. Now anyone at the office can do the same for their workplace, simply by filling in custom requests and responses in one of dozens of easy-to-use Blueprints. IT administrators can then review and enable that content for the company’s users and managed Alexa-enabled devices.

BMW Advertisements in France Reach Amazon Echo and Google Home Users When They Ask for the News:
Some people think there is no advertising through Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers. However, there is an exception for certain types of media such as news and Flash Briefings. BMW took advantage of this for the launch of the new 3 Series models equipped with the Intelligent BMW personal assistant in France.

Alexa Skill Blueprints Arrive in Japan: Alexa Skill Blueprints are now available in Japan. Skill Blueprints are templates that enable any Alexa user to fill out a form and create a locally accessible skill on their registered devices. The templates include standardized Alexa skill formats such as trivia games, flash cards, question & answer, and Japan users can also create a Spring Letter. One thing Japanese users cannot do is publish their Blueprints to the Alexa skill store for others to access.

📓 Tutorials and Opinions

Mark Cuban: Voice, Ambient Computing Are the Future. Developers Should Get in Now: Key points of the conversation between Mark Cuban and Paul Cutsinger: 1. Voice is Already a Common, Natural User Interface 2. Developers “Have to Be There Early” 3. To Succeed in Business, “You Have to Be Brutally Honest” 4. “There's No Future That Doesn't Have Ambient Computing or Voice Activation”

Create Your Own Automation Script to Optimize Syncing Your Local Alexa Skill Interaction Model Using the ASK CLI: Great developer tutorial on automating tasks using ASK CLI.

🌟  Skills of the Week

Best Multimodal Alexa Skills

Fork On The Road: You can add up to four things for the fork to choose from, and the fork will help you make a decision.

Loop It!: You can create amazing sounding loops by choosing your favorite drum, bass, and melody loops.

Poet Challenge: You can learn about British poetry by playing fun games.

Crazy Conversation: You will be given a clue that sounds like nonsense and you need to figure out what it is trying to say.

Color Lab: The skill offers a fun way to teach kids colors by using visuals and Echo Buttons.

BrainPickers! Guess The Movie: Guess the movie based on the given clues, and pixelated images. Try BrainPickers!

Kings over Aces: Try this card game that's easy to play, yet almost impossible to master.

Running Clothes: Wondering what to wear on your next run? This skill takes the guesswork out of gearing up for your next run.

Movie Classics: The skill allows you to watch some of the best classical movies that are hard to find otherwise.

Red Riding Hood - Interactive story: What if the Big Bad Wolf didn’t eat Grandma? Find out for yourself.

Photo by Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash