MARCH 2017: Welcoming Alexa

{
“intents”: [
{
“intent”: “GetNewPubIntent”
}
] }

Here at Signals we use technology to solve problems for clients; we also face a number of our own problems, chief among which is the question of what pub to go to for lunch on Friday. Hugh thought it was time to find a technical solution for ourselves, and as the subject usually sparks debate he decided that we needed an impartial arbitrator. Having just added an Amazon Echo Dot to the studio, Hugh proposed that Alexa could make the choice for us.

Alexa is Amazon’s natural language assistant, and in the same way that anyone can write an app for a smartphone to expand its functionality, Amazon’s release of the Alexa SDK means that anyone can write a ‘Skill’ to add to Alexa’s abilities. Not only that, but Alexa can be integrated into your own app or device, meaning that it could be deployed anywhere, even on a Raspberry Pi.

After a little experimentation our new Skill is now complete, allowing us to specify what features the pub should have (such as a garden) before one is suggest for us by Alexa, within a short walking distance of Henley town centre.

Alexa is just one part of the Internet of Things (IoT); we are looking at how it, and the rest of the marketplace, could impact our clients and whether new integrations and automation could provide them with enhanced solutions.