Amazon Web Services (AWS) is using its cloud dominance to encourage developers to build Alexa skills, launching a new program on Wednesday that offers cloud credits to developers with a published Alexa skill. Alexa Skills can be thought of as “virtual apps” that help users extend the power of the virtual assistant.
AWS said that many Alexa skill developers use its free tier, which offers a limited amount of Amazon EC2 compute power and AWS Lambda requests for no charge. But if developers go over these limits, they will incur cloud charges.
With its new offering, developers with a published Alexa skill can apply to receive a $100 AWS promotional credit as well as an additional $100 per month in credits if they incur AWS usage charges for their skill.
In November at its partner conference, AWS' director of its worldwide partner ecosystem Terry Wise said that AWS had heard a "deep desire to integrate Alexa and voice capabilities" into services offered through the partner network, according to ZDNet. To that end, AWS announced the Alexa Service Delivery Program for Partners, which gives "companies access to tools, training, solution blueprints, and support for the assistant, which is best known for helping customers using Amazon's Echo line of connected speakers," according to PC World.
As of January, there were more than 7,000 custom Alexa skills built by third-party developers. There are all kinds of things Alexa lets you do – including those Alexa skills that enhance your productivity, locate your missing keys, and make a cup of coffee. [Check out more ways to use Alexa on our sister site, Supersite for Windows.]
“There is already a large community of incredibly engaged developers building skills for Alexa,” Steve Rabuchin, Vice President, Amazon Alexa said in a statement. “Today, we’re excited to announce a new program that will free up developers to create more robust and unique skills that can take advantage of AWS services. We can’t wait to see what developers create for Alexa.”
Alexa developers can apply to see if they qualify for the AWS cloud credits online. The first promotional credits will be sent out in April.
If an Alexa developers’ skill surpasses the free usage tier, they may be eligible to continue receiving promotional credits.
“Each month you have an AWS usage charge you'll receive another $100 AWS promotional credit to be used toward your skill during the following month,” AWS says.