AWS unveiled Alexa for Business during its re:INVENT conference in Las Vegas
AWS unveiled Alexa for Business during its re:INVENT conference in Las Vegas PHOTO: AWS

Alexa Skills are slowly but surely transforming, well, pretty much everything. In the corporate world, Alexa for Business is helping enterprises to keep their employees productive at their desks, to organize conference rooms, and even to list out sales opportunities stored inside CRM systems. Not to mention the range of Alexa Skills for marketers that have emerged to help marketers better understand and reach untapped audiences.

Meanwhile, Alexa Skills are also changing the way we interact with our homes and manage other IoT (Internet of Things) devices. For instance, with the help of third-party Alexa Skills, Alexa connects with IoT lighting and heating products, stereo systems, smartphones and even Tesla vehicles. And now, with the release of Alexa Blueprints, the Alexa Skill spectrum is about to become a whole lot wider.

Related Article: 7 Things Businesses Should Know About Alexa in the Workplace

What Are Alexa Blueprints?

An Alexa Blueprint is a template that allows non-technical people to build Alexa Skills by inserting their own written content into pre-built "blueprints". A range of Alexa Blueprints are available and can be used to quickly build skills such as trivia games and instructions for babysitters. 

“Alexa Blueprints is a way for people to add personal touches to their own [Amazon Echo] device by creating trivia games for the whole family or to leave instructions for the babysitter on how to set the home alarm, what time the kids need to be in bed, any medication they should take, and so forth,” said Doug Robinson, CEO at NYC-based Fresh Digital.

Alexa Blueprints: What Templates Are Available?

At the time of writing, Amazon is serving up twenty-one Alexa Blueprints for consumers and businesses to experiment with. They’re categorized into 4 topics. Here’s a curated selection of the Alexa Blueprints available at the time of writing:

Home

  • Custom Q&A: Provide customized answers to customized questions.
  • Houseguest: Leave instructions and useful information for visiting relatives or even an AirBnB guest.
  • Babysitter: Give your babysitter vital information about allergies, bedtimes and contact information.

Fun & Games

  • Inspirations: Deliver random inspirational quotes or small tidbits of information.
  • First Letter: Let users play a game of categories starting with a particular letter.
  • Trivia: Create a multiple choice trivia game on any topic.

Learning & Knowledge

  • Quiz: Ask open ended questions to challenge and educate users.
  • Flash Cards: Is there a big event or examination coming up? Let your users prepare with Flashcards.
  • Facts: Create a list of facts on any topic

Storytelling

  • Fairytale: Tell a customizable prince and princess themed tale.
  • Sci-Fi: Tell a futuristic story in your own way.
  • Adventure: Take users on an adventure with your own story.

Related Story: 16 Crucial Alexa Skills For Marketers

What Are The Business Use Cases For Alexa Blueprints?

Alexa Blueprints are definitely geared towards the casual Amazon Echo owner that wants to personalize their experience a little more — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ample opportunities for brands to dabble in content marketing and employee engagement using Alexa Blueprints. For example, a brand could use the "Inspiration" blueprint to build a skill that dishes out inspirational yet personalized quotes in the office. Or, the "Custom Q&A" blueprint could be used to build a customer-facing FAQ. "I think the idea of brands building Alexa Skills for their customers and employees makes a lot of sense", said content marketing and brand strategist guru Sonny Tannan, “Especially since 1 in 6 adults now own a voice-enabled device.”

Robinson concurred, stating that brands that make the move to Alexa will be rewarded with consumer loyalty. “Alexa Skills are a place where conversation equals personalization. Creating this Alexa-powered brand connection with either customers or employees says "you care about me",” Robinson said.

How are you planning to use Alexa Blueprints to engage your customers or employees?