Amazon Eyes Siri and Cortana as Alexa Opens Up to Developers

Amazon has made its cloud-based voice assistant Alexa available to developers, setting its sights firmly on Siri and Cortana.

In a bid to open up Alexa beyond its own Amazon Echo device, the firm today announced an Alexa API to let third-party developers easily build support for the system into their own apps, and Alexa Voice Service (AVS), for integrating the Siri competitor into connected internet of Things (IoT) devices. 

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Great Hart, vice president of Amazon Echo and AVS, said: “Today, we’re excited to open up the Alexa Voice Service to any device maker that wants to add Alexa into their products—for free.”

“We’ve made adding Alexa incredibly easy for developers – any device with a speaker, an Internet connection, and a microphone can integrate Alexa with just a few lines of code. From start-ups to established companies, we can’t wait to see how developers integrate Alexa.”

Firms have been quick to take Amazon up on its offer of baking AVS into devices. Home security outfit Scout alarm, for example, will use AWS to enable customers to manage their connected devices by barking at them. 

Dave Shapiro, CTO at Scout, said: “Alexa opens new ways for our customers to interact with their security system – ways not yet seen in our industry.

“By simply speaking to Alexa as they leave the home, customers can arm their system, or remotely check in on the security of their home using voice commands. Advanced home security has never been this simple, easy or available to more people; we are excited that Scout customers get to experience the convenience of Alexa.”

Toymail, a maker of WiFi connected playthings, will use AVS to enable families to exchange voice messages using Alexa, while smart home company Wink will use to voice service to allow customers to control and monitor connected devices.

Amazon also announced the Alexa Fund, as much as $100 million dedicated to supporting devs, gadget builders and startups who are looking to build voice-powered experiences. 

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

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