The Future of Smart Enhancements for Omnichannel Engagement Experiences

By Danny Wang, Senior Product Manager

I recently attended Cisco's API IPA MeetUp featuring Hop Dogma Brewery & Amazon Alexa. My primary interest was learning more about Amazon's artificial intelligence (AI) for Alexa. I was looking for inspiration and creative use cases on how we can continue to innovate our omnichannel engagement model leveraging end consumer technologies. The IPAs I tasted also aided in that discovery process. The Alpha Dankapotamus IPA had a nice citrus taste with hints of aromatic fresh baked bread taking me back to a rustic old cabin on a smoky fall night in October, but I digress.

Memo Doring, Alexa Developer Evangelist at Amazon, shared his unique insights on how to easily use Alexa Skills Kit, a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation and code samples that makes it fast and easy for almost anyone to add skills to Alexa. It is as simple as 1 - 2 - 3. He demonstrated creating a skill, defining intentions for that skill, compiling it and then running it on his Echo Dot. Within a few minutes, he developed a skill for commanding Alexa to have a conversation with him on the IPAs we tasted. Memo was able to bring seemingly complex technology like Amazon AI down a level so that even I, a non-developer, was eager to try it.

The idea behind Amazon Alexa is to remove the friction of manipulating and managing our ever-growing set of devices that drives our connected lives, and let our voices drive our every wish. Memo's grandmother could never figure how to turn on his TV to watch her favorite news channel, so he wrote Alexa a smart home skill. Now, his grandmother just needs to say, "Alexa, I want to watch the news" and Echo turns the TV on right to her favorite news channel.

I can imagine trauma doctors using Alexa in trauma centers asking for real time diagnoses and treatment advice for life threatening injuries. I can image worried parents using Alexa as a self-service nurse at home for worried moms with sick kids and needing advice of what to do. Just build a skills kit, install it on their Echo or Echo Dot and ask Alexa for advice and help.

My goal for finding inspiration for taking omnichannel engagement experiences to the next level has certainly been fulfilled from attending this event as well some great IPAs to add to my favorites list. I think I will ask Alexa to order me a case or two.


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