Innovation

Developers can now build Amazon Alexa skills for free on AWS

A new program from Amazon will provide developers with Amazon Web Services promotional credits, making it free to build and host certain Alexa skills.

On Wednesday, Amazon unveiled a new program that will allow developers to build and host Alexa skills on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Alexa is the AI-powered digital assistant that power the Amazon Echo speaker, and other connected devices.

The program, announced via press release, will give published Alexa developers the chance to apply for a special $100 AWS promotional credit. According to the release they can also "receive an additional $100 per month in AWS promotional credits if they incur AWS usage charges for their skill - making it free for developers to build and host most Alexa skills."

A host of Alexa developers currently rely on Amazon's Free Tier for AWS, which offers limited compute, storage, database, and analytics usage. When developers go over those limits, the release said, they can incur some charges. This new program could be a way to mitigate that.

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

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Image: Amazon

"There is already a large community of incredibly engaged developers building skills for Alexa," Steve Rabuchin the vice president of Amazon Alexa, said in the release. "Today, we're excited to announce a new program that will free up developers to create more robust and unique skills that can take advantage of AWS services."

The new program could be of help to companies that wish to experiment with Amazon Alexa's voice interface, but don't want to make a massive investment up front. It could also help developers who build a skill on the free tier and aren't sure how successful it will be, said Ryan Kroonenburg, a UK-based solutions architect and the founder of a training community on AWS, in the release.

"This program not only allows developers to create robust skills that use AWS services like Amazon DynamoDB without worrying about costs, but also ensures that popular skills that hit more than 1 million calls per month are cost effective to maintain. It's a big benefit for the Alexa skill developer community," Kroonenburg said in the release.

Developers can apply for the promotional credits on the Amazon Alexa developer webpage, here.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Amazon is rolling out a new program that will make it easier to build and host an Alexa skill on AWS, by offering credits to developers.
  2. The program could help curious developers or companies begin to work with Alexa, without a big monetary investment.
  3. Developers could also benefit from the program, as it could provide a safety net for skills that become more popular than anticipated.

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About Conner Forrest

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

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