Amazon has plans to expand the capabilities of its digital assistant Alexa, at least in the Indian context. With this objective, the company is on an overdrive, enrolling developers to work on new skills that could be built into its home speakers. So far, 40,000 developers have been recruited till the end of 2018 and the process may continue. Some 20,000 skills have been added. And Amazon is tapping the unlimited potential available in the country, particularly in tier 2 and tier 3 towns across India.
Amazon has to contend with competition in the form of Google with its Google Home range and Apple, with its HomePods run on SIRI.
The voice developers being signed on will work with developing a range of skills. The ultimate objective behind this mammoth exercise apparently is to avoid Alexa being reduced to just play music through voice commands. The rest of its capabilities need to be explored and the customers made to experience and enjoy them. In the process, they want to get ahead of Google and Apple.
Incidentally, the voice assistant from Amazon is present in limited geography in the US, UK, Germany and India. Amazon is more popularly known for its ecommerce activities in India apart from the entertainment arm Amazon Prime. It has music and cloud storage as the other verticals in its business.
Amazon is letting these developers create contents in different genres that may get added to the Alexa ecosystem. There is however no monetization involved in the business at the moment. Tata Consultancy Services, Mphasis and Agrahyah Technologies are some of the companies working with the developers on the voice strategy for Alexa.
Amazon has already built a formidable brand presence on Alexa, including Vistara, Jet Airways, Cleartrip, Goibibo, Red Bus, Saavn, Gaana, Ola and Uber. Again, as far as the Indian users of Alexa home speakers are concerned, their favourite streams appear to be music, kids, sports, humour and devotion. More may get added as the developers start delivering their work.