Amazon’s Echo has become a sleeper hit, setting an industry standard for how voice-controlled speakers should work.
But the real crown jewel of the Echo is Alexa, the name of the talking virtual assistant that powers the voice-controlled gadget.
Amazon has big ambitions to turn Alexa into a much broader platform used by as many developers as possible. Already, Amazon allows third-party hardware makers to integrate Alexa into their apps and devices, like Samsung’s doing with its refrigerators, or how Lyft lets you call a cab by speaking to Echo.
And to get its message across more developers, Amazon just announced that it’s bringing a “session track” dedicated to Alexa at its annual AWS re:Invent conference this year.
Amazon holds multiple sessions tracks at its annual conference, focused on teaching developers how to use its AWS cloud service more effectively. These sessions cover everything from AWS’s database and machine learning tools to networking and security features.
But it’s the first time Amazon is having sessions just focused on Alexa this year, showing it sees Alexa as an important part of the broader AWS platform.
“The Alexa track at AWS re:Invent will dive deep into the technology behind the Alexa Skills Kit and the Alexa Voice Service, with a special focus on using AWS Services to enable voice experiences,” Amazon Alexa and Echo’s chief evangelist David Isbitski wrote in a blog post.
This isn’t a surprise move, given how popular Alexa has become. Just a year after opening Alexa to the public, it’s added 10,000 registered developers who are working on “tens of thousands” of Alexa projects, according to Amazon. There are already 1,400 Alexa “skills,” or voice-driven capabilities that run on any Alexa-powered device, and Amazon runs a fund dedicated to Alexa that’s already invested in 16 startups so far.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.