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London Alexa Devs - 5th Meetup

Alexa Skill Development - Tech Talks

· London Alexa Devs,alexa,Voice Design

Last week we had the 5th London Alexa Devs meetup at the Innovation Warehouse. It's great to see the number of attendees growing as Voice computing becomes more popular with developers!

We had some great talks:

  1. Voice Design Best Practice – Jess Williams
  2. Multi-Factor Auth in Alexa Skills - Faisal Valli
  3. A Cloud Guru Advanced Alexa Skills Kit Course – Oscar Merry
For those who weren't able to attend - the notes and slides are below!

But first!

Alexa in the News!

There were some interesting stories over the past few weeks that I thought people would find interesting:

  • Get ready to make calls with Alexa - Recode report that Amazon plans to unveil one or more new Alexa-powered devices this year that will allow people to initiate phone calls by voice. The device, or devices, will also allow people to talk with others on the opposite end of another Alexa device through a feature that could serve as an intercom system.
  • Alexa to distinguish between different voices - Time report that Amazon are developing a feature that would allow the voice assistant that powers its Echo line of speakers to distinguish between individual users based on their voices.

  • Google Home speaker to launch in UK by June -The BBC report that Google have confirmed it will launch its smart speaker in the UK before the end of June. We've already been experimenting with some Google Home prototypes and will definitely be having some talks on the technology coming up soon!

What do you think about these stories? Let us know in the comments below!

Here are the notes from the 3 talks:

Voice Design Best Practice - Jess Williams

Jess gave an excellent talk on the 10 Best Practices when Designing for Voice.

  1. Manage Users Expectations
  2. There doesn’t need to be a hierarchy!
  3. Consider the Linguistics
  4. Keep Alexa’s responses short
  5. Don’t have too many steps in the conversation
  6. Try not to answer a question with a question
  7. Spend time on the edge cases and half happy paths
  8. Minimise choice
  9. Minimise Pressure
She's also written a blog article explain these in detail which you can find here.

Multi-Factor Auth in Alexa Skills - Faisal Valli

Faisal gave an awesome talk and demo on Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication in Alexa Skills using the Nexmo API. Here are his slides:

A Cloud Guru Advanced Alexa Skills Kit Course – Oscar Merry

In partnership with A Cloud Guru - I recently released a course on Advanced Alexa Skills Kit Development.

The aim was to give you as an Alexa Skill developer all the skills you need to be able to build complex voice applications on the Amazon Alexa platform.

We wanted a course that showcased the wide range of features that the Alexa Skills Kit now offers, showcasing some of the more advanced functionality like:

  • Account Linking
  • Persistent Database Storage
  • State Management
  • Audio Streaming
  • Multiple Languages.

I also wanted to structure the course in the form of an end to end project. I find following along with a real project is always the best way to learn — and although the Skill we’ll be building is focussed specifically on the Alexa developer community, I’ve structured it in a way that you should be able to re-purpose a lot of the techniques to whatever use case you want to build for.

As well as this, I’ve structured the videos by technical topic so that you’ll be able to re-visit each particular one as and when you need it for future projects.

You can see the slides for the course here:

Although this is a paid course, A Cloud Guru have very kindly agreed to give the London Alexa Devs community a Free Link! -  Taking the course? Let me know what you think at!

Next Meetup!

We're busy lining up speakers for the next meetup so stay tuned.

Interested in presenting something you've done with Alexa or Voice? - Send me an email!

See you at the next Meetup!


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