Alexa

Category
Tech
Tags
Voice technology
Amazon Alexa
Amazon Web Services
Ubiquitous computing and voice first interaction used to be a thing only seen in movies and series such as Star Trek (Computer), Knight Rider (KITT), and 2001: A Space Odyssey (HAL). However, over the last couple of years, these concepts are entering the consumer and business market through products such as Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.
I love building human-computer interaction without the use of screens and keyboards, so when I first got my hand on an Amazon's Echo Dot, I couldn't resist experimenting with the usability of voice first interaction by solving real-world use cases. The result thus far is two published skills for Dutch users of Amazon Alexa: NOS News and Dutch Radio.
NOS News
To make Alexa even smarter for Dutch news junkies, I’ve published an Alexa flash briefing skill for listening to the NOS news bulletin. You can add the NOS News to your flash briefing via the Alexa app, which allows you to listen to the latest radio bulletin on your Echo by saying "Alexa, what's in the news?".
The news stream is updated hourly by the NOS, so you’ll always get the latest radio broadcast when you ask Alexa what’s in the news.
Dutch Radio
Do you also find it virtually impossible to find and play Dutch radio station using Alexa's TuneIn service? To solve this problem, I've published the Dutch Radio skill which brings the best collection of Dutch radio stations to your Alexa enabled device. Start listening to Dutch radio by simply saying "Alexa, play Dutch Radio".
Tech
Both skills are built using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and are taking full advantage of Amazon Web Services (AWS). All services for the skills are implemented as Lambda functions on AWS written in Node.js. Images and the flash briefing JSONs are stored on S3 and served via CloudFront. Dutch Radio's stream and session data are stored in DynamoDB tables.