AI assistants are only as good as the skills or actions they offer. And those skills largely depend on developers, often from big brands, doing their thing. Given how the early skills systems developed and how different rivaling companies raced to grab a piece of the Alexa or Google Assistant market, these skills grew to become isolated gardens. Now Amazon is attempting to bridge these islands by with the Skills Connections that lets other skill reuse existing skills to perform basic, common tasks.
It’s easy enough to imagine how skills that run an audio game of Dungeons & Dragons or one that looks for a certain class of recipes or dishes can be unique, depending on their creators. Some actions, however, like printing a PDF or booking a restaurant is something many skills can benefit from. Unfortunately, in the past, each skill or developer had to develop their own printing or booking feature.
Amazon is now trying to reduce that waste by letting skills connect to each other. If one skill needs a particular job done that some other skill provides, they can now call on that skill. That frees users from having to switch around from skill to skill and just get the job done, without caring who or how it’s done.
Of course, it doesn’t just happen by magic and developers need to do the work to make those connections. Skills that will call out to other skills will need to register themselves as Requesters while those answering the need are Connection Providers.
At the moment, Amazon says there are connections available for printing, booking restaurants, or reserving taxis. Hopefully, the types of connections will expand and developers will jump on board to create a richer and more interconnected ecosystem of Alexa skills.