Romain Jourdan
Romain Jourdan
Owner of this blog
May 20, 2017 3 min read

My first Alexa Skill

Back in November 2016, after few weeks enjoying Amazon Echo, I discovered ASK, Alexa Skill Kit i.e. an SDK made available by Amazon to develop your own skills.

Working for Riverbed Technology, a leader in Software-Define WAN solutions, I thought it would be a great opportunity to use Alexa to illustrate the power of business intent policies using natural language.

With Amazon Re:Invent 2016 in mind where the company had a booth, I decided to go for a personal challenge: let’s make it happen in less than 2 weeks.

So, I read the various Amazon blog posts on ASK, experimented few simple skills and started developing my own skill for SteelConnect. After few nights and one week-end working on it, I was able to present a first prototype internally.

Feedback was great and very encouraging. The marketing team approached me and told me we should publish it ASAP on social medias!

I was not sure as I shot the video using my MacBook Pro’s own camera and mic. It was on a Monday evening, light was no good, sound is now good, video quality is poor,^ and you could even hear by the end of the video, my kids crying in the background. It does not look professional at all but Marketing insisted and voila, it went online…

Software-Defined Networking Using Simple Voice CommandsSoftware-Defined Networking Using Simple Voice Commands

" Tea. Earl Grey. Hot." Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek’s The Next Generation made those lines famous as he requested a beverage to magically appear in the Enterprise’s replicator. That future is …

My ASK published on Riverbed blog

This video has got more than 2000 views to date, which I find really amazing! And which make me confident that Voice User Interface has a huge potential.

I enhanced the skill over Christmas season to be able to demonstrate additional capabilities of the product during our internal Sales Kickoff that took place in Las Vegas, NV in January 2017.

Path Rules support on Riverbed SteelConnect

You won’t be able to find that Skill on the Marketplace yet. I have linked my Echo to my Amazon developer Account and not certified the skill yet.

To be honest, I had too many things to handle since January to have it done properly. But I am back on it.

I’ll detail in a later post the architecture, how I did it and the next steps I am working on at the moment.

This challenge was a great experience. I learnt a lot about AWS, it was a great opportunity to do again some coding and discover in more details the potential of Alexa Skill Kit. As you can see, the videos are really amateur and I have room for improvement :-)