Amazon Invests $100 Million in Alexa Voice Tech

With the tech world buzzing about AmazonEUs Echo, the company is moving quickly to invest in its future. Amazon just launched the Alexa Fund, which will dish out up to $100 million to support manufacturers, developers and entrepreneurs that are working to innovate on products and services that tap into the power of the human voice.

Named for Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that powers Amazon Echo, the fund is open to anyone with an next-generation idea for how voice technology can improve our everyday lives. Amazon is specifically looking for novel voice technology applications that tap into the Alexa Skills Kit or the Alexa Voice Service, which also debuted on Thursday.

EUExperiences designed around the human voice will fundamentally improve the way people use technology,EU said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO. EUSince introducing Amazon Echo, weEUve heard from developers, manufacturers, and startups of all sizes who want to innovate with this new technology. WeEUre eager to see what they come up with.EU Echo, Amazon's new voice interface platform, allows users to control software applications, play music, search the Web, and open their calendars using only their voices.

Talking Possibilities

Amazon is trying to make it easier for developers with the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), a collection of self-service APIs and tools that serve as a platform, to create new voice-driven skills and capabilities for Alexa. Developers can integrate existing Web services with Alexa with a few lines of code, or build new experiences designed around voice within hours, according to Amazon.

One example is an Internet-connected sprinkler system that could integrate its sprinklers with Alexa, so a customer could say, EUAlexa, ask my sprinkler to water my lawn for 15 minutes.EU

Amazon also rolled out the Alexa Voice Service (AVS), which powers Echo, for third-party hardware makers that want...

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