Smart Speaker (VUI) Application Development

Creating New Voice-based User Experiences with Amazon Alexa Skills and Google Assistant Apps

A smart speaker is a device that can perform various tasks and services through voice interaction with an AI (Artificial Intelligence) Assistant. With advances in automatic speech recognition and natural language processing technologies, smart speakers such as Google Home and the Amazon Echo series are being increasingly used in homes and beyond. According to research by RBC Capital Markets, in 2018 the household penetration rate of smart speakers in the United States reached 41%.

Although adoption in Japan is relatively modest when compared with overseas markets, it’s expected that smart speaker usage will rise as voice user interfaces (VUI) are increasingly adopted in home electronics. Against this background, providing speech-based user experiences via smart speakers, as well as through other new communication channels, will increase in the future.

Our Smart Speaker (VUI) Application Development service for Alexa Skills and Google Assistant apps provides clients with support from the planning, design and development stages through to operation and maintenance.

Service Overview

In recent years, smart speakers are becoming popular globally, especially in the USA. Completing tasks and receiving services through voice dialogue, without having to look at the screen, is efficient and effective across a broad area of use scenes in both private life, such as in the home and car, and workplace where usual hand operation cannot be performed. VUI, the main feature of smart speakers, is forecast to be installed in increasingly diverse equipment in the future thus expanding the range of use activities.

Looking toward such a future, in this service we plan, design, develop, operate and maintain applications that can be used with major smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo series and Google Home. Furthermore, it’s possible to link with an existing website or web service, so we can consider and propose applications which effectively pair existing assets with VUI.

Service Features

Entrust us with the development of your smart speaker (VUI) compatible applications - from the requirement definition stage, through to design, development (including infrastructure preparation), testing and release.

During the requirement definition stage, we will determine whether user needs can be satisfied through voice, estimate necessary resources and infrastructure for development and future operation/maintenance. Through creation of a script/scenarios at the design stage, we convert user and VUI conversation flows into text. During the development stage, we develop and test the application based on the pre-defined content. After this we release the application, however, as required, we can provide operation/maintenance (fine tuning etc.) support.

Service Details

Amazon Alexa Skill Development

Amazon Alexa is a cloud-based voice service offered by Amazon. Smart speakers equipped with Alexa include Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot, as well as the Echo Spot and Echo Show which are equipped with display screens. Speakers and devices that are equipped with Alexa are also on sale from many other manufacturers.

A convenient function/service that users can call upon at any time by speaking to Alexa is called an "Alexa Skill". Alexa skills will basically be developed and published using Amazon's Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and cloud service AWS Lambda.

While our "Voice AI Channel Creation for Amazon Echo" service is closer to system development, with the emphasis on API design to utilize client data with Alexa Skills, the focus of this service is Alexa Skill development whereby we design and create the applications themselves.

Sample Skills

Mitsue Glossary (in Japanese)
A Skill, for smart speakers equipped with Alexa, that utilizes pre-existing tech-related glossary content on our website. Following the request "open the Mitsue glossary" and stating a desired term, the Skill provides a verbal definition based on the content written on our webpage.
Mitsue News (in Japanese)
On smart speakers equipped with Alexa, a Skill that allows users to listen to website information updates. Feed data is used to acquire up-to-date information. By default, topics listed on our top page will be read, however users can also get specific blog updates after configuring settings.

Google Assistant App Development

Google Assistant is an AI assistant developed by Google. Google Assistant is currently available for a wide range of products including the 'Google Home' smart speaker series, Android smartphones, as well as Android tablets etc. With Google Assistant, it is possible for users to perform searches, operate applications etc. through voice instructions.

With the use of specific apps, it is possible for users to extend the functionality of their Google Assistant. Applications for Google Assistant are developed on the Actions for Google Platform and conversational content is defined with Dialogflow tools.

Sample App

Mitsue Glossary (in Japanese)
A Google Assistant version of the "Mitsue Glossary", previously introduced as a sample Alexa Skill. For Google Assistant supported products, this app provides voice support for our tech-related glossary.

Service Flow

  1. Scoping
  2. Definition of Requirements
  3. Design
  4. Development (including infrastructure preparation)
  5. Test
  6. Release
  7. Operation/Maintenance

For more information on our services, timeframes and estimates, as well as examples of our work, please feel free to be in touch.