Amazon’s voice-based AI assistant Alexa now has more than a thousand “skills”, the company has announced.
‘Skills’ in Alexa’s case refer to the AI system’s compatibility with certain kinds of queries. They’ve been ramping up over the last year, ever since Amazon opened up skills development to third parties via Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit (ASK). That has allowed for new developments such as FitBit compatibility, which lets users of that brand’s wearable devices ask Alexa, via the smart home device Amazon Echo, about their relevant fitness data collected from the Fitbit devices. In a statement announcing Alexa’s wealth of skills, Amazon also highlighted integrations engineered by Capital One, Domino’s, Uber, and more.
ASK is a free SDK, so we can expect many more skills to come for Alexa, especially as Amazon pushes the tools in the hopes of ensuring Alexa’s place in the emerging smart home market. Other major companies such as Apple and Google are investing heavily in the areas of AI and speech recognition as these technologies appear increasingly important for the emerging Internet of Things, and that’s going to put them into direct competition against Amazon. Pretty soon, consumers could see a number of highly skilled AI assistants competing for positions in their connected devices.