Amazon is all over the map when it comes to streaming video. The tech and retail firm has its own Amazon Prime Video service which streams both original and syndicated films and series. Amazon also makes streaming hardware devices like the popular Fire TV and Fire Stick, capable of streaming both Amazon Prime and other services like Netflix and Hulu. Now, Amazon has announced the release of new developer tools which will allow third-party streaming services – Amazon’s own competitors – to build voice command capabilities for Amazon’s Alexa smart home assistants.
Amazon Alexa speakers can already respond to voice commands for a number of features including controlling Amazon Prime video. Just this week, however, Amazon released a set of developer tools which other streaming services, cable or satellite networks, or any other content provider like YouTube could use to create voice commands for use with Alexa. According to Amazon’s press release, the tools are surprisingly versatile:
For example, a customer could say, “Alexa, play Manchester by the Sea” without specifying a provider or device. Through the Video Skill API, Alexa is aware of the video devices and services your customer has or subscribes to. You create skills that connect your applications directly to Alexa’s video capabilities so that customers can control your content–without lifting a finger.
Many cable-cutters, especially millennials, are eschewing cable subscriptions in favor of streaming services, and most users have more than one streaming subscription. With this latest announcement, Amazon might be trying to position itself as a hub for users’ many different streaming services. It makes you wonder though, what Amazon will do with all the data it collects about Alexa users’ streaming preferences and habits when using competitors services. Remember: nothing comes free in the age of Big Data.