Innovation

Developers interested in voice: Don't underestimate Amazon Alexa's platform dominance

Amazon Alexa has surpassed 15,000 skills, while Google Assistant has fewer than 400 apps available, according to a Voicebot report. Here's why enterprise developers should pay attention.

When it comes to the smart speaker market, Amazon's Alexa dominates in terms of reach and capability. According to a recent Voicebot report, in June, Alexa boasted 15,069 skills on its platform, compared to the 378 available Google Assistant apps and the 65 skills available on Microsoft Cortana.

What's more is that the Alexa ecosystem is growing at a quick pace. Amazon only officially passed 10,000 skills back in February 2017, meaning its offerings have grown by more than 50% in just four months' time. According to the report, Alexa's skillset has grown 37x faster than Google's.

It is important to note that some of the skills are duplicates, the report said, created for specific countries or regions. Regardless, Amazon is dominating the market for voice-powered applications.

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

The most popular skills are Flash Briefings, making up 20% of all the skills available on Alexa, the report said. Flash Briefings provide certain types of news or information when engaged, like how the NPR skill will read off the top news of the day.

In its report, Voicebot referenced another study that claimed Google Assistant may be more powerful than Alexa, likely due to Google's data and artificial intelligence (AI) prowess. Regardless, the breadth of skills available on Alexa still make it a more appealing option, the report said.

Voice is continuing to grow as an emerging interface, especially in the enterprise. The proliferation of voice input was also a key takeaway in Mary Meeker's internet trends report as well. As such, developers must consider which platform will support their efforts and provide the broadest reach for their skill or application.

Companies like the Wynn Las Vegas are rolling out Amazon Echo units in the thousands, and that gives developers a real chance to make an impact with a business-focused skill. Other features and skills have been emerging lately that aim to make Alexa sable in the office as well.

Hardware updates have also set Alexa up for enterprise success. The launch of the Amazon Show brought Alexa to video calling, offering a new option for conference calls in the boardroom. Combine that with Amazon's continued push to integrate Alexa with suites like the Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365, and it is clear that Alexa will continue to lead in the enterprise voice market for some time.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Amazon Alexa has more than 15,000 skills, dominating Google Assistant (378 apps) and Microsoft Cortana (65 skills).
  2. Alexa's skillset has grown 37x faster than Google's, with Flash Briefing skills making up 20% of the total skills available.
  3. New hardware options and office suite integrations continue to make Alexa a viable enterprise option for voice, and developers should take notice.

Also see

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Image: CNET

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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