Book me, Alexa!

March 13, 2017

The last two weeks at Makers Academy. That means the final project is upon us.

Today we’ve been assigned to the teams and I am happy to announce I will be working on an Alexa skill, my first project of choice. A VUI-based app.

Voice User Interfaces is an area of tech that seems to be picking up again and a subject of my interest for quite some time now. So hopefully, the next two weeks should be a good opportunity to understand it in greater detail and learn how to develop for it.

Imagine being able to create technology and not needing to instruct customers on how to use it because they already know: they can simply ask.

First day. We’ve already managed to brainstorm what our skill will be about, pick up the tech stack, and also to come up with the team’s name. Makers Rooms. How telling! Maybe you can already guess what the app will be all about.

Our team is relatively small, only four developers and none of us has any previous experience of working with the tech stack we’ve chosen for this project… Typical Makers!

Alexa, the voice service that powers Amazon Echo, provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice. Examples of Alexa skills include the ability to play music, answer general questions, set an alarm or timer, and more.

In our case, we will be developing a room booking app. It was a great excuse for each of us to purchase Amazon’s Echo 😆 With our Alexa skill, you will be able to book a room at Makers (or wherever else for that matter) for your meeting or a Yoga Class. If you know the Makers space, you know there is a constant struggle to get a free room to work in, and there is no automated solution in place. Hence, we decided it is a high time to do just that. Let’s automate..

  • Alexa, ask Makers Rooms to create a new booking.
  • To create a new booking, please say: …

If you ask me why I ended up at Makers, my answer is simple. There is no better space to fulfill our innate need to be constantly challenged in life 😆 Every other week learning about a new framework or a programming language. I think we’ve developed the skill to have fun with the new technologies, to learn fast and to be tech agnostic.

With all that in mind, time to turn in and well.. good luck to us! 💪