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ID: 212284


Date: 2021-07-21

Now that Alexa is everywhere, it's time for developers to cash in

Amazon is introducing more than 50 new features for Alexa developers, including a number to monetize their Alexa skills. Alexa is well on its way to pervading all aspects of life -- the AI assistant will follow you through your smart home to your car, into the office, and during your afternoon jog. Even so, Amazon says that building a completely ambient voice assistant is a long-term project that requires contributions from a large ecosystem of developers.  Which Amazon Echo to buy? How to pick the best Alexa device for your needs Amazon now has an entire army of Echo devices. Some listen to you. Some also watch you. Which should you choose? We help you decide. Read More "We believe that through the work of our developers and device makers, we're building something that fundamentally changes the way people interact with technology," Nedim Fresko, Amazon's VP of Alexa Devices and Developer Technologies, said to ZDNet. To that end, the technology giant on Wednesday is rolling out dozens of new features for developers to help them create more engaging and ambient Alexa skills. A number of those features encourage the developer ecosystem to grow by allowing builders to monetize their Alexa skills.  "We're seeing early and encouraging signs of developers actually making money with skills," Fresko said. "We've seen some developers make more than $1 million a year." There are currently more than 900,000 registered Alexa developers -- around 100,000 of them joined in the past year. Collectively, the Alexa developer and device maker community has generated billions of dollars with the AI assistant's help, Amazon said. Developer revenue from in-skill purchasing has more than doubled year-over-year. Developers have built more than 130,000 skills for the voice assistant, as well as hundreds of "Alexa built-in" products (including PCs, wearables, smart home devices, and cars). There are more than 140,000 smart home products that can be controlled with Alexa. With hundreds of millions of Alexa-enabled devices now in use, customers interact with Alexa billions of times every week. "Our vision for ambient computing is technology that's always available across modalities," Fresko said. "It's where you need it and doesn't get in the way... And it also adapts to you instead of customers needing to adapt to it. You don't have to learn it -- it's proactive, and it learns from you. And this is technology meeting you where you are." To advance that vision, Amazon is introducing new features that fall into three categories, Fresko said: Driving business for developers, helping developers build a delightful and ambient experience for customers, and helping developers launch skills more quickly. Some of the new features are listed below: