Global ecommerce major Amazon has partnered with HackerEarth, to announce the launch of its first virtual AI hackathon for Alexa. This hackathon is aimed at building more engaging skills for Alexa, which is the cloud-based voice service and brain behind Alexa-enabled devices, including the Amazon Echo.
The idea is to get developers to think of out-of-the-box ideas as against the traditional application development approach and embrace a voice-first design approach.
According to a statement from the company, The participants will be given access to the Alexa Skills Kit, a set of free, self-service, public APIs, that developers can utilize to easily create new experiences for Alexa. The existing architecture allows developers to build applications or skills to enhance the customer experience for its users. The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a useful tool for independent developers, designers and brands to create new ways to engage Alexa.
Registration for the hackathon is open now. It will be an open themed hackathon where participants can build any skill that can benefit Alexa customers. Participants are encouraged to create business productivity solutions, cool games, engaging chat bots, smart home applications or anything else that users might be looking for.
Alexa currently has over 12,000 skills in the store across multiple categories including Business & Finance, Food & Drink, Games, Music & Audio. This hackathon will give participants an opportunity to work on voice-controlled skills that will make Alexa smarter.
â€śExperiences designed around the human voice will fundamentally improve the way people use technology. We are definitely at the tipping point of a voice-first era. The AI Hackathon with HackerEarth will showcase the potential of the developer community in India to build voice skills for Alexa. More than 15,000 developers from India have already started to build skills for Alexa. We look forward to all the cool things that the Indian developers will come up with,â€ť says Dilip RS, Country Manager for Alexa Skills Kit, Amazon.
The registration process of the hackathon will conclude on April 1, 2018. All teams that qualify will be required to submit a working skill based on their idea by April 15, 2018. All skill submissions that pass the skills qualification process by April 21, 2018 will get published to the India skill store and will be readily available for users to install on their Alexa app. The final team that wins will be announced on May 1.
Teams can also add other language support (e.g. EN-US) to make their skills available to the global skill stores, however participants must register themselves as India vendors and publish their skills to the India store to qualify for the competition.
The jury for the hackathon includes senior leadership from Amazon and Alexa Skills business in India. The winning teams will also be awarded cash prizes, devices including Amazon Echo and Amazon Kindle and will also get to meet senior team members from Alexa Skills team in India.