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Three weeks left—Bonus Tech Tip: Using Advanced Voice Features

There are three weeks remaining in the Alexa Skills Challenge: Tech for Good. Submissions are due September 17, 2018 before 5pm ET(Find out what time that is in your city)

Start your submission now

Starting a submission is a good way to make sure that your skill meets the requirements. There’s nothing worse than getting to the deadline, only to realize that you’re missing a key component. Remember: once you submit a project, you can keep editing it as needed at any time prior to the submission deadline. Need a primer on how the submission form works? Head over to our submission form tutorial.

Prepare your video

Don’t forget that your submission must include a video demonstrating your skill for this competition. Check out our video-making tips here. As always, we strongly recommend that you don’t wait to the last minute.

Bonus Tech Tip: Using Advanced Voice Features

In the past few months, Alexa has released a series of features to help you build richer, more personalized experiences for Alexa customers. One of our bonus prize categories “Best use of Advanced Voice Features” will specifically reward skills that make use of these features and create deeper, richer experience for Alexa customers. Read more about each feature below:

Dialog Management: Real conversations are dynamic, moving between topics and ideas fluidly. To create conversational Alexa skills, design for flexibility and responsiveness. Skills should be able to handle variations of conversation, conditional collection of data, and switching context mid-conversation. Dialog management makes these natural interactions possible. Read more, here.

Entity Resolution enables you to define synonyms for the Alexa Service to resolve rather than having to figure this out in your code. For example, in your Alexa skill, rain may be synonymous with, downpour, shower, storm, and rainstorm. When the customer says downpour, the Alexa Service will let you know that they said “downpour” and it will also let you know that it’s a synonym for “rain”. Read more, here.

Memory (persistence): Implementing memory (persistence) in your skill means that you can store data about a previous user session to use it in future ones. This is incredible useful to create experiences that have context rather than starting each session from scratch every time. Adding context to your conversation is what can help make it feel more natural to the user. Watch the tutorial, here.

CanFullFillIntent: You can make it easier for customers to find and engage with your skills by adding support for the CanFulfillIntentRequest. Using CanFulfillIntentRequest, your skill provides information about its ability to fulfill a given customer request at runtime. Alexa combines this information with a machine-learning model to choose the right skill to use when a customer makes a request without an invocation name. As a result, customers find the right skill faster, using the search terms they say most naturally. Read more, here.

As a reminder, your Devpost submission is due by September 17th at 5PM, ET (Find out what time that is in your city) but you have until October 1 to get your skill through certification. Good luck everyone!

Questions?

If you have any questions about the hackathon, please post on the discussion forum.