AWS ReInvent brought a bunch of Alexa-related announcements. These included paid Skills, Alexa for Business, and Alexa Gadgets.
Alexa for Business seems to be the next push to expose more APIs to Alexa Skills Kit. A year ago, you could see trickles of Skills for business. At the Web Summit in 2016, there was one company presenting CRM data through voice.
Companies have been playing around with this, whether it’s getting website analytics, realtime customer data, sales figures, etc, by asking the Echo. With Alexa for Business, it seems to be more emphasis of getting companies to look at Skills.
Taking a step back, the real challenge here isn’t about connecting a Skill to an API, it’s about being able to train for natural language query against an API but even more importantly, formatting the response as a natural language utterance back to the user.
This push could essentially provide Amazon with a large amount of training data for it to develop its own Natural Language Generation tool. Maybe Amazon NLG will be the next big release at ReInvent 2018?