New Smart Lock Functionality For Smart Home Skills

Submitted by Peter on Fri, 03/03/2017 - 23:54

Amazon has today announced new upcoming functionality for their Smart Home Skills API.

Up until now if you wished to control a smart lock you would have needed to first initiate a skill and call the command within the skill however now the Smart Home Skills API has been extended to introduce the following intents:

Alexa Skill Milestone Reached

Submitted by Peter on Mon, 27/02/2017 - 22:18

The Amazon Alexa team recently posted on the Alexa blog. The Amazon Echo was initially released on November 6th, 2014 to Prime members (and June 23rd, 2015 for non-Prime users). To have achieved sp many skills in such a short period of time is made even more impressive by the fact that skill developers currently cannot monetize their skill.

New Calendar Added To Alexa

Submitted by Peter on Fri, 24/02/2017 - 20:12

1 much-requested feature for Alexa was the ability to use Office 365 calendars. In today's Amazon Echo newsletter they mentioned that support has been added for,,, and calendars. Of course, an office 365 account does not end in any of these but I thought I would give it a try regardless. To my delight, it worked.

Alexa Dev Chat Podcast - Edpisode 10

Submitted by Peter on Fri, 24/02/2017 - 19:53

Episode 10 has just been released of the Alexa Dev Chat Podcast.

The following is the podcast details:

In the episode Dave chats with Alexa Champion, John Wheeler. John is the author of the popular Flask-Ask framework which helps developers quickly create and test high quality Alexa skills using the Python programming language. 

Links: Contest, Delays in Prize Allocation

Submitted by Peter on Thu, 16/02/2017 - 01:45

At the tail end of 2016 Amazon partnered with to create a new Alexa API Mashup contest. The aim of the contest had clearly been to create an influx of newly created skills. Amazon has partnered with a number of times prior and since this particular contest was created.

Major Tap Update?

Submitted by Peter on Thu, 09/02/2017 - 18:47

Over the last hour, there have been reports that a new over the air update is following out for the Amazon Tap. At present, the Tap requires a button to be pressed prior to being able to invoke a command. Well, the update reportedly changes this and allows the Tap to listen out for the wake word in the same fashion as the Echo and Dot.

I have checked the Amazon help and support page, however, the latest firmware is listed as 564197320 which introduced:

Amazon Voice Services UK And German Release

Submitted by Peter on Tue, 07/02/2017 - 14:42

While logging into the Amazon Developer Portal yesterday I noticed that there was a notice that the terms and conditions had been updated to take into consideration the release of Amazon Voice Services (AVS) in the UK and Germany (looks like the T&C's were actually updated on the 30th Jan). To be honest I was quite surprised as I had not seen any news to suggest that the service had been released in the UK. Looks like I was not going crazy.