Why Amazon's Alexa Skill Blueprints are a master stroke

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A new feature called Alexa Blueprints provides more than 20 templates for writing out your own voice commands and responses.

You don't need to be a coder anymore to write some Skills for Amazon's Echo and other Alexa devices.

So far the now available Blueprints categories are At Home, Featured, Fun & Games, Learning & Knowledge, and Storyteller, though as mentioned above Amazon plans to continually launch more blueprints over time so users should expect more categories to pop up as well at some point, as these are just the ones which are available alongside the launch of Alexa Blueprints today. Where IFTTT connects with all manner of apps and services, Alexa Blueprints is mostly still kept to itself.

Now Amazon started with templates for houseguests guides, babysitter directions, trivia, compliments and stories, but the company will build out the Alexa Blueprint library.

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There are three sections to a template: Content, Experience, and Name. Skill, which, when enabled, allows Alexa to serve up a trivia game for you to play.

Alexa users can now build their very own Alexa Skills without any code. Or, just as you ask Alexa to turn off the lights, now she can show your security camera feed.
The Echo Spot is diminutive in size, but not in power. The forms are already filled out with examples and can be used as is, but the fun comes with editing the default material to make them personalized.

If you named your custom skill, "John's Birthday", you can just say, "Alexa, open John's Birthday skill". While the new addition of Alexa Skill Blueprints does open up to some jovial fun, it is also open to abuse with people setting up the voice assistant to offer incorrect responses in households.

Creating a skill is relatively straightforward.

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The speaker is equipped with far-field technology with four microphones, acoustic beam-forming technology and noise cancellation, while also integrating with compatible smart home devices.

Each page features two sections: "How to create", with steps on building that particular skill, and "How to use", which explains the process for using the skill.

Go to the Alexa Skills Blueprint Help Hub for more information.

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