Amazon Echo and Alexa slated for early 2018 Aussie arrival

With Amazon’s launch into the Australian market today, many of us expected that’d coincide with the release of their home voice assistant – the Amazon Echo and their voice...

With Amazon’s launch into the Australian market today, many of us expected that’d coincide with the release of their home voice assistant – the Amazon Echo and their voice assistant Amazon Echo.

Unfortunately Amazon have that scheduled to come to Australia and New Zealand early 2018. While plenty of Aussies have been through the hassle of importing Echo’s from the US, its really with the SONOS One that we get our first, supported hardware, which will be followed by a full software support next year.

Over the past couple of years, Amazon have expanded the Echo hardware lineup to include the Echo Dot, the Echo Plus, the Echo Spot, the Echo Show and the Echo Look. Lets hope all of them make their way down under.

Right now, the Alexa app is available and I have my Sonos One providing morning briefings, controlling my lights and streaming podcasts through the TuneIn Radio app.

As someone who enjoys programming and who runs a website with regular fresh content, the opportunity to develop an Alexa skill for techAU.com.au was just too appealing and its actually a really quick process which explains why there’s tens of thousands of skills to choose from. This is currently in development and I plan on shipping the instant its available in Aus.

This will open up new opportunities for developers in Australia, New Zealand, and worldwide to build for Alexa and reach customers through voice-first experiences using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and the Alexa Voice Service (AVS). Starting today, developers can build experiences for customers in Australia and New Zealand using the Alexa Skills Kit. Developers will be able to hit the ground running and get their skills ready when Alexa launches to customers early next year. Support for the Alexa Voice Service is coming soon.

If you’re interesting in development, Amazon encourage you to get started today. By connecting with the Alexa community on their developer forums. Amazon says they’re excited to bring Amazon Alexa and Alexa-enabled devices to Australia and New Zealand soon to enable developers to reach and delight new customers and can’t wait to see what you build.

Create New Skills for Alexa with the Alexa Skills Kit

The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for developers to create new voice-driven capabilities, or skills, for Alexa. Developers don’t need experience with speech recognition or natural language understanding—Alexa does all the work to hear, understand, and process the customer’s spoken request so developers don’t have to.

How to Build an Alexa Skill

It’s easy to start building voice experiences for Alexa. Explore our simple tutorials or watch our on-demand webinars to learn how to build a skill quickly. If you want to build a multi-language Alexa skill, read our technical documentation to learn how to create a skill in all language models, including English for US, India, UK, Canada, and Australia as well as German and Japanese.

Update Your Existing Skill and Reach New Customers

If you’re already an Alexa developer and want to target new customers in Australia and New Zealand, you can enhance your existing skill by extending support for the new language model English (Australia) by following these simple steps.

Integrate Alexa into Your Devices with the Alexa Voice Service

The Alexa Voice Service (AVS) enables developers to integrate Alexa directly into their products, bringing the convenience of voice control to any connected device. Through AVS, hardware manufacturers will be able to build Alexa-enabled products and offer customers in Australia and New Zealand access to a growing number of Alexa features, smart home integrations, and skills.

AVS will provide developers with access to a suite of resources to quickly and easily build Alexa-enabled products, including APIs, hardware development kits, software development kits, and documentation. Device makers will be able to start building with AVS including an Alexa-enabled prototype for Raspberry Pi in an hour with the AVS Quick Start Guide. Support for the Alexa Voice Service is coming soon.

 

More information at the Alexa developer blog.

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.