Amazon is making it easier for Alexa Skills developers to reach the right users, according to a Wednesday Alexa blog post.
The CanFulfillIntentRequest interface—launched in beta this week—allows a skill to provide information about its ability to fulfill a customer request at runtime. Alexa will combine this information with a machine learning model to find the right skill to use when a customer is looking for a certain skill but doesn't have a name.
"As a result, customers find the right skill faster, using the search terms they say most naturally," according to the post.
With more than 40,000 third-party skills available for Alexa users, the service could help developers get their particular skills in front of the people who are looking for them, as noted by our sister site ZDNet.
In the past, Alexa would use its machine learning capabilities to help customers discover and launch skills using natural phrases and requests. Now, CanFulfillIntentRequest will augment this model, allowing Alexa to query multiple skills on their ability to meet a user's needs.
For example, if customer asks, "Alexa, where is the best surfing today near Santa Barbara?" Alexa can use CanFulfillIntentRequest to see what surfing skills can understand and answer that request, the post said. A surfing skill that has a database of California beaches might be able to understand and fulfill the request, while one with a database of Hawaiian beaches might only be able to understand it. Therefore, Alexa would connect the user to the California beach database, the post noted.
Developers can check out this guide to learn how to add support for the CanFulfillIntentRequest interface to their skills, or follow these instructions described in the post:
1. Use the Alexa Developer Console or the Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface to update your skill manifest to indicate that your skill supports the CAN_FULFILL_INTENT_REQUEST interface.
2. Add logic in your skill service to respond to the CanFulfillIntentRequest directives.
3. Test your skill to ensure that anFulfillIntentRequest is supported for all intents handled by your skill.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- Amazon launched the CanFulfillIntentRequest interface in beta, which will make it easier for Alexa Skills developers to reach users.
- Alexa will combine CanFulfillIntentRequest information with a machine learning model to find the right skill a customer needs.
- How we learned to talk to computers, and how they learned to answer back (cover story PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Amazon Echo: 10 Alexa productivity skills to try (ZDNet)
- Alexa Skills: Cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Alexa for Business: 10 key takeaways (ZDNet)
- Top 5: Ways Alexa can help you get work done (TechRepublic)
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.