Customers love that they can speak to Alexa on a growing number of devices, access more than 12,000 skills, and get information on a variety of topics in seconds. However, they often ask that Alexa be more proactive in delivering information.
Soon customers will be able to enable notifications for select skills and Amazon.com shopping updates on most devices with Alexa. Companies like AccuWeather, The Washington Post, Just Eat, and Life360 will be among the first to update their skills with notifications, giving Alexa the capability to alert customers with information that’s important to them.
We’re also excited to announce that development tools to enable skills notifications for both device makers and skill builders through the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) and Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) are coming soon.
When available, users will be able to opt-in to notifications per skill using the Amazon Alexa App and will be alerted when there’s new information to retrieve by a chime and a pulsing green light on their Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show device. When users enable notifications on a skill like The Washington Post, the skill will send status updates to the device. Users can simply ask, “Alexa, what did I miss?” or “Alexa, what are my notifications?” and Alexa will inform users of the latest breaking news. All skills require users to opt-in before they’ll send alerts to any device. Customers can also disable notifications for skills or suppress notifications temporarily by putting devices in Do Not Disturb mode by voice or through the Amazon Alexa App.
AVS API for Notifications
Update: AVS makes new ‘Notifications for Alexa’ feature available to device makers. Learn more.
AVS will announce a developer preview soon to ensure AVS-enabled device makers get a head start updating their products to support notifications from Alexa skills. Device makers will have to update their products to support a new directive and to control an on-device indicator (LED or on-screen equivalent) and earcon. When a user receives a notification, the device emits a sound and a device indicator turns on until the notification is read, deleted, or expired.
Notifications for ASK
In the coming months, developers will be able to add notifications to their skills to deliver important and relevant information to users. Skills like AccuWeather will provide weather updates, The Washington Post will provide users breaking news alerts, and Just Eat will provide order confirmations.
Customers will be able to try out this feature on select upcoming skills and give feedback on their experience in the Amazon Alexa App. The team will use the feedback to improve user experience before releasing development tools to all skill builders.
Amazon provides developers with hardware and software tools that make it easier to build magical voice experiences for customers. Alexa, comprised of two powerful developer frameworks, enables device makers and skill builders to reach new customers across the Echo Family of Devices and all AVS-enabled products.
Stay tuned for more information on Notifications and the upcoming development tools for AVS and ASK. In the meantime, visit the Alexa Developer Portal to learn more about building Alexa Skills or integrating Alexa into your product.