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Artificial Intelligence, News, Technology

Amazon’s ‘Alexa Custom Assistant’ Lets Companies Build DIY Voice AI

Abhinav Raj

Abhinav Raj, Writer
@uxconnections

Amazon is lending companies access to Alexa’s advanced AI stack to build their voice assistants, tailored to fit their consumers

Bezos-led Amazon has adopted a rather charitable dogma in its newest product—Alexa for corporates, but to each, their own variant. 

For a relatively small price tag, Amazon is offering its proprietary voice AI, Alexa—to automakers, consumer electronics manufacturers, video game developers and other digital product and service providers with its new Alexa Custom Assistant solution.    

The voice assistance solution brings the best of Amazon’s ever-improving voice AI with the ability to customize the assistant’s wake word, voice, skills and capabilities—all while delivering the familiar, tried-and-tested user experience of Alexa. 

The e-commerce giant aims at the reduction of the cost of development that entails in building a voice assistant ab initio. 

“Building an intelligent assistant is complex, time-consuming, and costly,” read a January 15 blog post by Amazon. 

“By reducing the burden of building the core capabilities of an intelligent assistant, companies can focus their time and resources on creating unique capabilities that delight their customers.”

(Image: Canva)

“The Alexa Custom Assistant addresses this challenge by allowing companies to leverage Alexa’s world-class technology stack to create their own intelligent assistant without the investment, long development cycles, and resources to build it from scratch and maintain over time.”

The move by the e-commerce giant promises a larger, diversified, quasi-ubiquitous system of Alexa voice assistants, provided they may go by another name. 

The Alexa Custom Assistant has earned its first customer pre-rollout—automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has ‘begun planning process for the development’ of its custom intelligent assistant, according to Amazon. 

“Our customers expect to easily connect with their digital lifestyles wherever they go and today we responded with plans to offer new intelligent experiences built on Alexa’s world-class voice AI technology,” Mark Stewart, Chief Operating Officer of FCA, North America, told Amazon. 

“We look forward to the expanding partnership with Amazon and the integration of Alexa Custom Assistant within our powerful Uconnect system as we continue on our path to put customer needs and expectations at the center of everything we do.”

A demo of a custom voice assistant built with the new Alexa Custom Assistant product. (Image: Amazon Inc.)

In addition, the Alexa Custom Assistant product can exist alongside Amazon Alexa voice AI. For instance, alongside an automaker’s specifically developed voice assistant that fits the customers’ needs like a glove, the company can choose to have Alexa take over for certain tasks such as opening an eBook or exploring a playlist on Amazon Music, while the custom voice assistant could perform tasks such as opening the sunroof or rolling down a window. 

Amazon is charging forward head-to-head against a market of voice AI competing to establish a stronghold in the voice assistant ecosystem. Pit against its contender, Apple Inc., the e-commerce giant may secure an advantage against a nemesis whose proprietary voice assistant remains limited to its products.  

There appears to be no forbidden fruit in the garden Amazon is rearing. 

The Alexa Custom Assistant is now available in 15 countries, including the U.S., Canada, U.K., Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and Brazil, with more to be added to the list gradually.

Amazon has spoken: Alexa can be what you want it to be. What experiences could your customers have with a unique voice assistant?

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