Voice services

Amazon opens Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Services to developers in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates ahead of Alexa launch


Amazon introduced the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) to developers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates before planning to launch the voice assistant in both countries later this year. ASK is in Gulf Arabic, also known as Khaleeji, the version of Arabic spoken in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Arabic skills

The Alexa Skills Kit is a collection of tools and programs designed to streamline the creation of Alexa skills for developers. It is especially aimed at those who may not have much experience with voice applications in particular. Developers do not need to know how to program a natural language comprehension engine; they just have to program how they want Alexa to perform the skill. ASK also comes with a bunch of guides and webinars to teach newbies how to get involved. The fact that everything is in Gulf Arabic should help encourage the rapid growth of an Alexa developer community that Amazon clearly wants to set up before Alexa officially arrives in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The same goes for hardware with Alexa inside. This is what the Alexa voice services overview is for. When Alexa arrives in the new countries, it will not only be in Amazon Echo devices, but also in others built by LG and Samsung, while devices from Phillips Hue, Xiaomi and other manufacturers will be able to interface with the Arabic version of the Gulf. voice assistant.

“The skills that developers are building now that are certified for release will be available to customers when Alexa launches in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates later this year,” Amazon’s Israa Muezzin explained in the announcement. “Commercial hardware manufacturers who want to develop integrated Alexa products for customers in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates can request early access to the developer preview Alexa Voice Service (AVS) by invitation only. “

Alexa international

Alexa-enabled devices have not been supported in either country so far, with any Echo used there requiring either US or UK system access to function. Amazon had emailed potential developers in the UAE in April to bring Alexa to that country. However, the letter was a more general discussion of testing Alexa’s functionality, so perhaps it was also about trying to locate information and other methods of Alexa Voice Service (AVS) integration. . AVS has been on a streak of expansion into new countries all over the world, most recently in Belgium and Switzerland after introducing AVS in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Peru in April, Poland and Sweden in March, and in Colombia and the Netherlands at the end of 2020. ASK appearing before Alexa in two new countries is moving away from the AVS approach only in these other countries, but it is in line with the strategy of building a community developers as quickly as possible, the language may have just been a necessity despite it possibly slowing down the launch of Alexa in both countries.

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