Alexa Skills: A guide for business pros (free PDF)

Alexa Skills can simplify your chores and make work and personal life easier—if you know the ins and outs. This ebook explains what Skills are and how to enable and use them and offers tips for building your own.

From the ebook:

Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, is everywhere—it’s in smart speakers (from Amazon and other manufacturers), it’s on smartphones, and its platform called Alexa for Business helps enterprises integrate Alexa into next-generation smart offices.

Alexa is impressive, but it’s still limited to the capabilities Amazon has given it. Where Alexa truly shines is with its Skills, which are third-party apps that give it all sorts of new abilities.

Alexa Skills, like mobile apps, have the potential to make life and work easier and can be great for businesses from both an employee and customer perspective. This guide to Alexa Skills will tell you all you need to know about using, creating, and benefitting from these fantastic additions to Alexa’s capabilities.

What are Alexa Skills and how can I enable them?
Amazon Alexa is a digital assistant, but it’s also a platform, such as iOS or Android. Like those more full-fledged systems, Alexa has apps that can extend its usefulness—what Amazon calls Skills.

Alexa Skills come in a variety of categories, including business & finance, productivity, news, and weather, on Amazon’s Alexa Skills page. All Alexa Skills are free, though some require a subscription service to unlock their full functionality.

Unlike Google Home, which has a limited number of skills that are enabled on all units by default, Alexa Skills don’t come preinstalled. To gain access to a particular Skill, such as CNET News, you have to ask Alexa to enable it or click Enable on or in the Alexa mobile app.

You can ask Alexa about particular categories of Skills to have it list applicable popular ones, which is a good option if you’re exploring what’s available.

Alexa Skills can also be used in a completely different way—as part of Alexa for Business. Designed to integrate Alexa-controlled Amazon Echo units into offices, Alexa for Business comes with the tools needed for businesses to build custom skills to suit the needs of their environment.

Alexa Skills can be built to control meeting rooms, adjust smart thermostats, turn on lights—essentially anything that can be connected to Alexa can have a custom skill built for it.

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