Editor’s Note: Our monthly release roundup series showcases the latest in Alexa Skills Kit developer tools and features that can make your skills easier to manage, simpler to deploy, and more engaging for your customers. Build with these new capabilities to enable your Alexa skills to drive brand or revenue objectives.
In this roundup post we share details about six new things released for skill developers in February, including the ability to publish Skill Blueprints and several other enhancements that can help make your new or enhance existing skills more engaging. Check out the entire livestream for more information from Alexa evangelists and code samples.
1. New Intent Chaining Capability Helps You Create More Natural Conversations Using Dialog Directives
Chaining intents means you may now trigger another intent using dialog directives in your skill’s response. Now you can activate dialog management programmatically without prompting your user to explicitly choose the next step, producing a more natural and potentially engaging conversational flow. Intent chaining is available in all locales. Read the technical blog for implementation details, and get started with the intent chaining technical documentation. Click here to view the portion of the livestream about intent chaining.
2. 11 Additional Built-in Slot Types Now Available in International Locales
More built-in slots are now available for all locales (in addition to the en_US locale), so you can implement the AMAZON.Book, AMAZON.Movie, AMAZON.FictionalCharacter, AMAZON.Movie, AMAZON.MusicAlbum, AMAZON.MusicGroup, AMAZON.Musician, AMAZON.MusicRecording, AMAZON.TVSeries, AMAZON.Corporation, and AMAZON.RadioChannel slots in your skill. This curated content is automatically updated and can help you save time building, increase engagement, and improve your skill’s customer experience. These slots are now available in all locales. Read more in the technical documentation about slot types. Click here to view the portion of the livestream about the new built-in slot types.
3. New Baby Activity Skill API Enables Hands-Free Logging for Baby Care Apps and Devices
The Baby Activity Skill API is a new skill type that includes a set of interfaces you can use to build Alexa skills for baby care services and devices. You can build skills that use Alexa to help customers keep track of their baby activity and review previously logged information. The Baby Skill API is available in the U.S. Read the blog for details on what’s included, and get started with the technical documentation. Click here to view the portion of the livestream about the new built-in slot types.
4. Improve the Customer Experience of Multimodal Skills by Leveraging Pre-defined Transport Control Layout and Voice-based Selection
You can control the appearance of the controls for your APL video components–such as Play, Pause, Restart–with the Transport Controls layout and ensure consistent customer experience for videos. Additionally, by leveraging the voice-based selection support, you can make your multimodal skills to respond to phrases like “select the third one” or “select this” by identifying exactly which item was selected. These features are available in all locales. Read more in the technical documentation for Transport Controls layout and for Voice-based Selection. Click here to view the portion of the livestream about the new built-in slot types.
5. Add Slots Suggestions to Your Skill VUI with Catalog Value Suggestions
Catalog value suggestions makes smart suggestions to expand slot catalog values in your skill, which helps save time in the skill building process and expands on spoken language understanding training data to improve accuracy of your skill. Catalog Value Suggestions are available in EN locales. Read more in the technical documentation. Click here to view the portion of the livestream about the new built-in slot types.
6. Alexa Skill Blueprints Let Anyone Create and Publish an Alexa Skill in Minutes, With No Coding Required
Skill Blueprints enable anyone to create and share customized Alexa skills simply by filling in the blanks to one of dozens of easy-to-use templates. Now, anyone can publish skills created using Alexa Skill Blueprints to the Alexa Skills Store in the US for customers to discover, use, and review. We’re also excited to announce new Skill Blueprints built specifically for content creators, bloggers, and organizations. atalog value suggestions makes smart suggestions to expand slot catalog values in your skill, which helps save time in the skill building process and expands on spoken language understanding training data to improve accuracy of your skill. Catalog Value Suggestions are available in EN locales. Read more in the Alexa Skill Blueprints blog.
We can’t wait to see what you build.