Innovation

Amazon Alexa developers get new metrics to track skill usage and an API for location data

Amazon recently added a Device Address API for Alexa, enabling location data for Alexa skills, while also unveiling a new metrics dashboard to track performance.

In hopes of driving more users back to its Alexa voice service, Amazon released a new metrics dashboard for Alexa developers on Wednesday, to bring more insight into how and when customers are using certain skills.

The metrics dashboard was officially announced on an Amazon blog post, and leans on data from customers, sessions, utterances, and intents to provide a new look into skill performance. After signing into the Alexa developer portal, click on "Alexa" and then "Alexa Skills Kit" to see a list of your skills. You can then connect to the metrics dashboard for each individual skill as needed, the post said.

There are five tabs on the dashboard: Overview, customers, sessions, utterances, and intents. For starters, the overview tab shows the number of unique customers interacting with a skill, when the usage of the skill has peaked, and the number of utterances made relative to your skill, the post said.

SEE: How to become an Alexa developer: The smart person's guide

The customers tab aims to give developers more information about when and why customers are returning to their Alexa skill. It also offers crucial information such as how updates to the skill, or how certain times of the year affect users' interactions with the skill, the post said.

How often a customer initiates a session, and the number of times that session is successful or fails can be found in the sessions tab, the post said. The utterances tab, on the other hand, give similar info about the utterances made during a session—their average number and how many requests are made to your service.

Intents are, essentially, the actions that a user can take within your skill. The intents tab shows which intents are used the most, and which ones get the highest number of requests. This information can be used to make your skill more engaging.

In addition to the new metrics dashboard, Amazon also released a new Device Address API for Alexa developers, giving them the option to add customer location data to their Alexa skill. According to the blog post announcing the API, it could be used to allow Alexa to initiate a food delivery, or give directions to a nearby business.

If an end-user wants to utilize the location features enabled by the new API, they will be prompted by Alexa to give consent to have their location data shared. Users can consent to share either their full street address or their country and postal code only. Developers can find more information on the API in its technical documentation here.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Amazon has released a new metrics dashboard for Alexa developers, offering insights into how their skill is being used and what actions are leveraged the most within a skill.
  2. In addition to a general overview, developers can get information on unique customers, sessions, utterances, and intents relative to each individual skill.
  3. Amazon also unveiled its new Device Address API, enabling developers to leverage customer location data within their skills.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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