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Amazon Opens Up the Software For Alexa-Controlled Smart Homes ( 51

An anonymous reader cites an article on CNET: Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa has already grown into a viable platform for voice-activated smart home control. Now, Amazon is introducing new, open software that will make it easier for smart home gadgets to hop aboard that platform. The software is a new addition to the Alexa Skills Kit called the Smart Home Skill API. The API makes it faster and easier for device makers to build the Skills that sync their products up with Alexa, and it standardizes the vocabulary that they'll use, too. If I make a smart thermostat and sync it up with Alexa using the Smart Home Skill API, I'll be using common terminology that Alexa already knows. That means that Alexa will be able to control my thermostat with basic commands like, "Turn the heat up" or, "Set the thermostat to 70" without me needing to program any of it.
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Amazon Opens Up the Software For Alexa-Controlled Smart Homes

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  • . . . .or did the Nest/Revolv issue speed up the announcement and release of this ??

    • What moron would still "buy" any cloud based smarthom systerm after this?

      • by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @01:21PM (#51854167)

        Agreed. Stuff for your home should be planned to be in place for 15-30 years. Most IoT and cloud crap sold today is likely to have more like a 1-3 year lifespan before lack of support, hard coded vulnerabilities, or shoddy quality kills it off. Wait for widely accepted standards and keep things simple. Otherwise you'll be spending your weekends and evenings ripping out the old crap when it dies sooner than you think.

        Can you imagine if your washer and dryer bricked every couple years? Garage door opener?

        Most of the stuff sold today are toys. Only buy it if it is for fun, it will likely be non-functional before the next decade.

  • Set the thermostat to 70 = 700

  • by Etcetera ( 14711 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @01:31PM (#51854225) Homepage

    This really reminds me of Apple Events back when they were first introduced in the System 7 release... As best it could at the time, the community was attempting (led by Apple) to adopt a common vocabulary for domain specific nouns and verbs, so that all word processors would understand the terms "sentence" and "paragraph" for example. Or "font size".

    Ideally, you'd be able to issue something like this below for *any* WP, even if it wasn't fully Recordable yet:

    tell application MyWordProcessor
          set the font size of the first word of the second sentence of the third paragraph to 12

  • There's no way I'm ever getting a system like Echo unless I can set the "wake" word to whatever I like.

    Yawn! Going to sleep now, wake me when I can choose my wake word...

    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      Check out here why that is never going to be a thing. []
      • Yeah, but none of those are real objections. I've studied linguistics and I've built speech recognition systems, so I'm quite familiar with how they work.

        Essentially the reasoning boils down to "because we took every shortcut we could find" and now we are constrained by those decisions.

        The accuracy of modern continuous speech recognition systems is quite close to human accuracy, and almost on par with proper training - which should be sufficient. The accuracy of isolated word recognition in modern speech re

  • I realize that this is "The Cloud" and all; but does releasing an SDK that makes it easier to build applications that depend on your proprietary cloud service really count as "opening" it?

    They are obviously under no obligation to open anything, whether fully or partially; and this will presumably make their stuff more useful; it just seems really weird to use "open" to describe what is basically the same thing that platform vendors have always done to encourage people to write stuff that runs on their pl
  • Really the Echo is really cool hardware but the current API is just too limiting.
    How about an Echo intercom system? How about using it as a Sonos?
    I really like my Echo but I know it could do a lot more.

You have a massage (from the Swedish prime minister).