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Skillset: The First General Purpose Skill on Alexa

[Winner Quixey Hackfest 2016]

Business Insider predicts that by 2020 we will have 113M Amazon Alexa devices that will be in homes and offices all over the world helping people to be more efficient. Today, most of the ~5,000 skills on Alexa are answer-specific needs, such as: order uber, latest news, stock price, play song, tell me a knock knock joke, etc.

There are a few disadvantages in today's skills:

  1. Skills are too specific and perform basic actions - you have to use different skills to get things done, compared to the rich functionality available in mobile applications.
  2. Not enough choices  - Capital One has a nice skill to check your balance, but what about other mobile apps? GasBuddy, Gilt, HotelTonight, Expedia, etc. don't have that capability yet. Skills are cumbersome; a user needs to remember several skills, as only one function is addressed at a time.

The above factors led me to create the first multi-purpose skill on Alexa - Skillset. Skillset leverages Quixey's Deep Mobile Search to retrieve the top result based on a user query. How do we do it? We use static and dynamic analysis to automate a cloud farm of devices to search and index apps and respond to user queries as fast as possible. Google is great at web search, but Quixey is the first to provide Search for actions from mobile applications.

Our skill supports different verticals and acts as the first mobile to voice interface.

I started coding to fill the gap in the following verticals: restaurants, eCommerce, hotels and gas prices.

You simply say "Alexa, open Quixey and find me a Mexican restaurant in Mountain View," "Alexa, I want to buy a laptop." You get the top result via voice and the three top results via the Alexa app in case you want to continue the flow on your mobile phone.

Why do we need the Alexa app? Well, with its audio-only approach, Alexa has limitations for situations that demand more visual information e.g., eCommerce products. We are unable to present rich Deep View Cards due to the current limitations on the Alexa app; we hope to add this ability in the future.

Skillset provides users a variety of skills with better quality and ease of use on Alexa. This is going to be a whole new space for Quixey to be able to serve customers via voice while doing the heavy lifting in the background.

Stay tuned and follow us for the launch of Skillset.