Amazon’s Alexa and The New WALKING LEADER Skill

By now, you have seen the Amazon Alexa commercials.

If you haven’t then let me share the following: Alexa “is an intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon, made popular by the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo Dot devices developed by Amazon Lab126. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, and other real time information, such as news. Alexa can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation system.”1

Sounds pretty cool. You talk to a small device and it talks back. Heck, it even tells you a joke, if you ask it to. Folks, it is official, we are living in the future.

I have been intrigued with the Alexa IPA (intelligent personal assistant) since it first came out, then appeared on my Kindle Fire and then it was on my Amazon Fire TV Stick. I was hooked. I was beyond hooked, I was mesmerized. Here is the perfect opportunity to be part of an emerging technology. VOICE.

So what did I do to be part of this emerging technology?

During the recent Amazon Prime Day the Echo Dot was available at a price that was too hard to resist.

While I was waiting for my very own Echo Dot to arrive, I brainstormed and came up with a couple of ideas. However, I wanted to proof of concept as well as making certain that I was not in over my head when it came to creating a new Alexa skill.

Doing my homework, I discovered there are approximately 15,000 Skills (and climbing) so why not add one more to the list of skills? That’s what I did.

What I did is put my daily audio,  the Walking Leader podcast, Going Beyond The Grind-Going Beyond The Hustle (Facebook video)  and the Amazon Skill development tool to get all that put together. A few days later, the approval email came in from Amazon and here is the link for  you to get my new Amazon Alexa Skill: Walking Leader Flash Briefing.

Now I am even more hooked. You can be too. Looking back, I was not in over my head. It was actually quite easy to create the “Flash Briefing“. What I am saying is you can create your own. All you need is an account on the Amazon Developer Platform. If you have an account on Amazon then you already have an account on the Amazon Developer platform. You are going to need a few things the most important is having a audio content that resides (is stored) on SSL enabled web-hosting service.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the “standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.”2

How do you know if you have an SSL enable web-hosting service? Simple, when people go to you website do they see HTTPS:// or HTTP://? If the see HTTPS then you are good to go. If not, then contact your web hosting provider to get the SSL added. Be warned, the SSL might cost you to install. However, once you have the SSL in place you are well on your way to having your Alexa Skill ready for the world.

If you have a message you want to share with the world, then give it a shot. Now is the time to get in on this new emerging technology. I am excited to be part of all this and I know you will be, as well.

Thanks,
David Guerra, MBA

 


  1.  Amazon Alexa. (2017, August 14). Retrieved August 17, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Alexa
  2. (n.d.). Retrieved August 17, 2017, from http://info.ssl.com/article.aspx?id=10241