Using voice-controlled interfaces via Amazon Alexa

Listening to the Word

Article from Issue 230/2020
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Want to add voice activation to your IoT environment? Create an Alexa skill.

If you want to control your own home automation environment with Amazon Alexa using natural language, you have two options. Either resort to a prebuilt Alexa skill, as offered by the vendors of some automation components, or write a skill of your own.

If you can find a prebuilt skill that performs the task you want to automate, you can accomplish the automation with just a few short steps; however, the possibilities are limited to the set of options that have already been provided by third-party programmers. If you want to reach other devices – or even if you just want to execute a series of actions that don't fall easily within Alexa's existing skill set, you need to write the skill yourself.

This article shows how to build the front end of your Alexa automation by getting Alexa to communicate with a Raspberry Pi. Once you establish the link to the RaspPi device, you can train the Pi to perform any number of basic functions on your IoT home network.

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