60 pippa.io <![CDATA[Alexa in Canada: Amazon Alexa and Echo Skills, Tips, and Tricks for Canadians]]> http://alexaincanada.ca en Copyright Alexa In Canada 2018 Teri Fisher Teri Fisher, from the Alexa in Canada Blog and VoiceFirst network, reveals all of his top Amazon Alexa skills, strategies, news, power tips and tricks for Canadians. Discover how you can get the most out of Alexa’s voice first service so you can have the time and freedom to make your life more organized, relaxed, stress-free, entertaining, and fun!


Although Teri confesses he does not have a complete Smart home, he uses Alexa to help him be more efficient in his daily life. Amazon Echo devices, personal digital assistants, smart home automation, flash briefings, voice recognition, natural language understanding, artificial intelligence (AI), and everything that works (and doesn’t work) to help you better understand how to get Alexa working for you.


Alexa in Canada is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Amazon.com, Inc.

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Teri Fisher, from the Alexa in Canada Blog and VoiceFirst network, reveals all of his top Amazon Alexa skills, strategies, news, power tips and tricks for Canadians. Discover how you can get the most out of Alexa’s voice first service so you can have the time and freedom to make your life more organized, relaxed, stress-free, entertaining, and fun!


Although Teri confesses he does not have a complete Smart home, he uses Alexa to help him be more efficient in his daily life. Amazon Echo devices, personal digital assistants, smart home automation, flash briefings, voice recognition, natural language understanding, artificial intelligence (AI), and everything that works (and doesn’t work) to help you better understand how to get Alexa working for you.


Alexa in Canada is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Amazon.com, Inc.

]]>
no Teri Fisher info+5a49cbf6eb6d506c77cc07d9@pippa.io episodic https://assets.pippa.io/shows/5a49cbf6eb6d506c77cc07d9/1518476816158-45f8f16a4466ebac86d189c6c652f488.jpeg http://alexaincanada.ca <![CDATA[Alexa in Canada: Amazon Alexa and Echo Skills, Tips, and Tricks for Canadians]]> https://feed.pippa.io/public/shows/alexa-in-canada <![CDATA[Voice Technology Marketing with Doug Schumacher #23]]> Tue, 24 Apr 2018 07:00:00 GMT 36:46 5ad6c4cb32e76aa35a18db82 no full 1 23 In this episode, Teri welcomes Doug Schumacher, Co-founder, Content Strategist, and Advertising Creative Director at Zuum, and Writer and Producer of the podcast, Homie & Lexy, to talk about marketing trends in the voice-first technology world.

Welcome Doug Schumacher!

Doug Schumacher is a marketing guru. He has extensive experience in radio, advertising copy-writing, new media marketing, and is a leader in voice-first technology marketing strategies. He comes on the show today to discuss the future of marketing for voice, and using voice for marketing.

We covered a lot of ground in this interview, and below you’ll find a summary of the key take-home messages.

How to Market A Voice-First Product

  • Start by identifying your target audience and the competitive landscape
  • Determine your product’s/service’s distinct advantages
  • Consider creating broad, high-level branding messages on multiple channels (i.e. podcasts, flash briefings, voice skills, etc.)
  • In the new market of voice-first technologies, there are some specific challenges that must be considered:
  • Discoverability – how will your product be discovered?
  • Location – Where will the product/device be located? (i.e. home, mobile, car?)
  • Timing – When is the best time to target your audience? (e.g. when people are in their kitchen in the evening, preparing dinner?)
  • Call to Action – As voice tends to be a linear 1-dimensional experience, without easy access to a website, where will you direct your customers/clients?

How to Use Voice First Technology for Marketing

  • Start with a simple voice strategy, a voice experience that is essentially a minimum viable product
  • The key is to actually take action and enter the voice-first space now
  • Voice-first marketing offers an opportunity for brands to personalized themselves so clients and customers can engage with the organization in a more intimate way
  • Flash briefings are prime real estate, equivalent to the front page of google
  • The end of flash briefings are excellent “locations” to promote specific skills, making for a more streamlined approach to discoverability.

Differences in Voice First Marketing compared to other Mediums

  • Voice-first technology is a very fluid, natural interface
  • Invoking a voice app is very simple, and allows for a more streamlined experience (compared to finding a podcast on a phone app, for example)
  • With voice-first technology marketing materials, you are not confined to a specific time slot or time frame (compared to a specified 30 second radio commercial, for example)

Social Media and Voice First Technology

  • Voice-first technology is the “anti-social” media, as there are NOT a million people talking at once!
  • Currently, it’s not easy to share voice skills
  • This will likely change over time

Homie & Lexy Podcast/Skill

Practising what he preaches, Doug has created a tremendously funny and entertaining podcast, Homie & Lexy.

Homie & Lexy is a podcast that documents the adventures of 2 AI voicebots, Google Home (AKA Homie) and Amazon Alexa (AKA Lexy) residing in the same house. When their owners step out, the voicebots discuss the perplexing human world around them.

We are very fortunate to have Lexy making her debut live appearance on this episode of Alexa in Canada! Make sure to listen to her interview and found out what Lexy really thinks about being an AI voicebot!

List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
In this episode, Teri welcomes Doug Schumacher, Co-founder, Content Strategist, and Advertising Creative Director at Zuum, and Writer and Producer of the podcast, Homie & Lexy, to talk about marketing trends in the voice-first technology world.

Welcome Doug Schumacher!

Doug Schumacher is a marketing guru. He has extensive experience in radio, advertising copy-writing, new media marketing, and is a leader in voice-first technology marketing strategies. He comes on the show today to discuss the future of marketing for voice, and using voice for marketing.

We covered a lot of ground in this interview, and below you’ll find a summary of the key take-home messages.

How to Market A Voice-First Product

  • Start by identifying your target audience and the competitive landscape
  • Determine your product’s/service’s distinct advantages
  • Consider creating broad, high-level branding messages on multiple channels (i.e. podcasts, flash briefings, voice skills, etc.)
  • In the new market of voice-first technologies, there are some specific challenges that must be considered:
  • Discoverability – how will your product be discovered?
  • Location – Where will the product/device be located? (i.e. home, mobile, car?)
  • Timing – When is the best time to target your audience? (e.g. when people are in their kitchen in the evening, preparing dinner?)
  • Call to Action – As voice tends to be a linear 1-dimensional experience, without easy access to a website, where will you direct your customers/clients?

How to Use Voice First Technology for Marketing

  • Start with a simple voice strategy, a voice experience that is essentially a minimum viable product
  • The key is to actually take action and enter the voice-first space now
  • Voice-first marketing offers an opportunity for brands to personalized themselves so clients and customers can engage with the organization in a more intimate way
  • Flash briefings are prime real estate, equivalent to the front page of google
  • The end of flash briefings are excellent “locations” to promote specific skills, making for a more streamlined approach to discoverability.

Differences in Voice First Marketing compared to other Mediums

  • Voice-first technology is a very fluid, natural interface
  • Invoking a voice app is very simple, and allows for a more streamlined experience (compared to finding a podcast on a phone app, for example)
  • With voice-first technology marketing materials, you are not confined to a specific time slot or time frame (compared to a specified 30 second radio commercial, for example)

Social Media and Voice First Technology

  • Voice-first technology is the “anti-social” media, as there are NOT a million people talking at once!
  • Currently, it’s not easy to share voice skills
  • This will likely change over time

Homie & Lexy Podcast/Skill

Practising what he preaches, Doug has created a tremendously funny and entertaining podcast, Homie & Lexy.

Homie & Lexy is a podcast that documents the adventures of 2 AI voicebots, Google Home (AKA Homie) and Amazon Alexa (AKA Lexy) residing in the same house. When their owners step out, the voicebots discuss the perplexing human world around them.

We are very fortunate to have Lexy making her debut live appearance on this episode of Alexa in Canada! Make sure to listen to her interview and found out what Lexy really thinks about being an AI voicebot!

List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
<![CDATA[Voice User Interface Design with Ilana Shalowitz #22]]> Tue, 17 Apr 2018 07:00:00 GMT 32:50 5ad3cf1bc5846a343fe732a7 no full 1 22 <![CDATA[Storyline with Vasili Shynkarenka #21]]> Tue, 10 Apr 2018 07:00:00 GMT 40:13 5abe4d573d5cbd55401630c5 no full 1 21 In this episode, Teri welcomes Vasili Shynkarenka, Co-Founder and CEO of Storyline, to talk about his new platform that allows anyone to make Alexa skills without any coding!



Welcome Vasili Shynkarenka from Storyline!

Vasili Shynkarenka in the co-founder and CEO of Storyline, a platform that allows you to create skills for Amazon Alexa in the most simple way, without requiring any knowledge of how to code. If you can type, drag and drop, and most importantly, come up with a good idea, you too can create a successful Alexa skill with Storyline!

Vasili’s background is in computer science and marketing. He previously worked in voice design for 3 years, designing conversational interfaces for various brands and businesses.



Key Points Discussed on the Podcast

We covered a lot of ground in this interview with Vasili. Here are some of the key points that we discussed:

  • Storyline is a tool that allows anyone to create a skill for Amazon Alexa without writing any code. It is a visual interface, designed to be incredibly user-friendly.
  • Storyline launched Sept 2017
  • Non-technical people as very good at building excellent and engaging Alexa skills.
  • A good idea is more important than the ability to code when it comes to building Alexa skills.
  • Alexa is more similar to YouTube than an iPhone app.
  • Children are able to dive right in and create excellent skills for the first time (as opposed to other technologies).
  • There are currently 550 skills live that were built on Storyline
  • Storyline users range from age 7-87 years old
  • Storyline allows users to update content in real time without having to submit a skill for recertification with Amazon
  • Skill discovery is still a major challenge for the average users

Kids Court, by Adva Levin (Pretzel Labs)

  • Completely created in Storyline
  • Won the Global Alexa kids Challenge!
  • Kids Court is a relatively technically easy skill to create, but the concept is very unique and engaging.

Tips for Creating a Good Skill

  • Create skills tend built around daily habits; e.g. soundscape skills and news
  • Choose a relevant invocation name (i.e. command to use/open the skill)
  • Regularly update your content
  • Create a repetitive experience – something that will encourage users to return to the skill

Recent Storyline Features

  • You can now add long audio files and livestream audio in your skills
  • This allows for interactive radio: Alexa can start live streaming your audio, but you can also add commands that users could say during the livestream.
  • Alexa now supports pre-built variables; you can use these for all types of information.
  • For example, you can have Alexa learn a user’s name and Alexa can use that in the course of the experience
  • You can now store phone number in skills through Alexa, which are stored on the Amazon server. These would be accessible only by the developer. The users would be able to unsubscribe if wanted.
  • The ability to cross-promote skills built on Alexa will help with skill discovery

The Future of Storyline

  • An initial goal is to increase the number of skills in the Skill store
  • Eventually Storyline will be published to other platforms, such as Google Home

Thank you Vasili!

Thank you for sharing your information, experience, and incredible product with all of us! I look forward to watch how Storyline evolves over time!



List of resources mentioned in this episode:

]]>
In this episode, Teri welcomes Vasili Shynkarenka, Co-Founder and CEO of Storyline, to talk about his new platform that allows anyone to make Alexa skills without any coding!



Welcome Vasili Shynkarenka from Storyline!

Vasili Shynkarenka in the co-founder and CEO of Storyline, a platform that allows you to create skills for Amazon Alexa in the most simple way, without requiring any knowledge of how to code. If you can type, drag and drop, and most importantly, come up with a good idea, you too can create a successful Alexa skill with Storyline!

Vasili’s background is in computer science and marketing. He previously worked in voice design for 3 years, designing conversational interfaces for various brands and businesses.



Key Points Discussed on the Podcast

We covered a lot of ground in this interview with Vasili. Here are some of the key points that we discussed:

  • Storyline is a tool that allows anyone to create a skill for Amazon Alexa without writing any code. It is a visual interface, designed to be incredibly user-friendly.
  • Storyline launched Sept 2017
  • Non-technical people as very good at building excellent and engaging Alexa skills.
  • A good idea is more important than the ability to code when it comes to building Alexa skills.
  • Alexa is more similar to YouTube than an iPhone app.
  • Children are able to dive right in and create excellent skills for the first time (as opposed to other technologies).
  • There are currently 550 skills live that were built on Storyline
  • Storyline users range from age 7-87 years old
  • Storyline allows users to update content in real time without having to submit a skill for recertification with Amazon
  • Skill discovery is still a major challenge for the average users

Kids Court, by Adva Levin (Pretzel Labs)

  • Completely created in Storyline
  • Won the Global Alexa kids Challenge!
  • Kids Court is a relatively technically easy skill to create, but the concept is very unique and engaging.

Tips for Creating a Good Skill

  • Create skills tend built around daily habits; e.g. soundscape skills and news
  • Choose a relevant invocation name (i.e. command to use/open the skill)
  • Regularly update your content
  • Create a repetitive experience – something that will encourage users to return to the skill

Recent Storyline Features

  • You can now add long audio files and livestream audio in your skills
  • This allows for interactive radio: Alexa can start live streaming your audio, but you can also add commands that users could say during the livestream.
  • Alexa now supports pre-built variables; you can use these for all types of information.
  • For example, you can have Alexa learn a user’s name and Alexa can use that in the course of the experience
  • You can now store phone number in skills through Alexa, which are stored on the Amazon server. These would be accessible only by the developer. The users would be able to unsubscribe if wanted.
  • The ability to cross-promote skills built on Alexa will help with skill discovery

The Future of Storyline

  • An initial goal is to increase the number of skills in the Skill store
  • Eventually Storyline will be published to other platforms, such as Google Home

Thank you Vasili!

Thank you for sharing your information, experience, and incredible product with all of us! I look forward to watch how Storyline evolves over time!



List of resources mentioned in this episode:

]]>
<![CDATA[Accessibility and Alexa with Robin Christopherson #20]]> Tue, 03 Apr 2018 07:00:00 GMT 31:13 5ab8170fbb6ddf45527e0795 no full 1 20 In this episode Teri welcomes Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet, to talk about accessibility of voice-first technologies and his experience as a blind person using Amazon Alexa.

Welcome Robin Christopherson!

Robin Christopherson is Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet, the globally-acclaimed accessibility and tech charitable organization in England. AbilityNet is a pan-disability charity organization that promotes the use of technology to empower people with all types of disabilities. Robin himself is blind and he joins us today to speak about his experience with Amazon Alexa and the benefits of voice-first technology for those with disabilities.

Robin is a sought-after speaker, and has won numerous awards for his work in inclusion and accessibility, including the MBE – Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He produces the daily podcast, Dot to Dot, where he reviews Alexa skills.

Robin’s Key Points about Technology, Accessibility, and Alexa

  • Robin is blind and his visual impairment was gradually progressive from birth. He lost his remaining vision in his late teens and has used technology to help him with his daily activities over the last 20-30 years.
  • There is a huge amount of excitement and enthusiasm about voice assistants within the areas of inclusion and accessibility. Voice tech will help people with all types of disabilities, from cognitive, to visual, to hearing, to many others.
  • Voice speakers are the ultimate evolution in the computer interface. Voice is the most natural version of communication.
  • Robin received his first Echo Dot for his birthday approximately 1.5 years ago and he loves it! He uses numerous commands and skills to help him with his daily organization and activities.
  • Alexa allows for more accessible environmental control in a mainstream, affordable device. The low cost of entry to using Amazon Alexa is one of the reasons that the adoption rate of these devices has been so high.
  • Robin finds that the most useful skills and commands for visually impaired people include calendar functions, scheduling, timers, entertainment skills, and the ability to ask general queries in natural spoken language.
  • We are beginning to see a world of increasing ambient computing – where one simply talks to the air around him/herself and there are computers all around that are able to respond in an appropriate and relevant manner.
  • One of the greatest benefits of Amazon Alexa, compared to other digital assistants, is the fact that Alexa has been built from the ground up with an emphasis on voice-first technology. On the other hand for example, while Siri currently is activated by voice, it relies heavily on a screen to deliver content.
  • While recognizing that some people have concerns around privacy and security, Robin is not particularly anxious about these issues around these devices. He feels that we are living in the age of the ‘wild-west’ of the internet, but that the digital assistants are no different than any other websites or devices currently available. Having said that, he does not necessarily recommend putting a device with a camera in the bedroom!

Dot To Dot

Robin has a daily podcast, Dot to Dot, where he highlights one or more skills each day. The podcast is aimed towards all people (not just those with visual impairment). Robin occasionally talks about new features or skills that are available to Amazon Alexa users. Make sure to check it out here.

List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
In this episode Teri welcomes Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet, to talk about accessibility of voice-first technologies and his experience as a blind person using Amazon Alexa.

Welcome Robin Christopherson!

Robin Christopherson is Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet, the globally-acclaimed accessibility and tech charitable organization in England. AbilityNet is a pan-disability charity organization that promotes the use of technology to empower people with all types of disabilities. Robin himself is blind and he joins us today to speak about his experience with Amazon Alexa and the benefits of voice-first technology for those with disabilities.

Robin is a sought-after speaker, and has won numerous awards for his work in inclusion and accessibility, including the MBE – Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He produces the daily podcast, Dot to Dot, where he reviews Alexa skills.

Robin’s Key Points about Technology, Accessibility, and Alexa

  • Robin is blind and his visual impairment was gradually progressive from birth. He lost his remaining vision in his late teens and has used technology to help him with his daily activities over the last 20-30 years.
  • There is a huge amount of excitement and enthusiasm about voice assistants within the areas of inclusion and accessibility. Voice tech will help people with all types of disabilities, from cognitive, to visual, to hearing, to many others.
  • Voice speakers are the ultimate evolution in the computer interface. Voice is the most natural version of communication.
  • Robin received his first Echo Dot for his birthday approximately 1.5 years ago and he loves it! He uses numerous commands and skills to help him with his daily organization and activities.
  • Alexa allows for more accessible environmental control in a mainstream, affordable device. The low cost of entry to using Amazon Alexa is one of the reasons that the adoption rate of these devices has been so high.
  • Robin finds that the most useful skills and commands for visually impaired people include calendar functions, scheduling, timers, entertainment skills, and the ability to ask general queries in natural spoken language.
  • We are beginning to see a world of increasing ambient computing – where one simply talks to the air around him/herself and there are computers all around that are able to respond in an appropriate and relevant manner.
  • One of the greatest benefits of Amazon Alexa, compared to other digital assistants, is the fact that Alexa has been built from the ground up with an emphasis on voice-first technology. On the other hand for example, while Siri currently is activated by voice, it relies heavily on a screen to deliver content.
  • While recognizing that some people have concerns around privacy and security, Robin is not particularly anxious about these issues around these devices. He feels that we are living in the age of the ‘wild-west’ of the internet, but that the digital assistants are no different than any other websites or devices currently available. Having said that, he does not necessarily recommend putting a device with a camera in the bedroom!

Dot To Dot

Robin has a daily podcast, Dot to Dot, where he highlights one or more skills each day. The podcast is aimed towards all people (not just those with visual impairment). Robin occasionally talks about new features or skills that are available to Amazon Alexa users. Make sure to check it out here.

List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
<![CDATA[IFTTT and Amazon Alexa #19]]> Tue, 27 Mar 2018 07:00:00 GMT 13:32 5ab17397627e02027cf860c3 no full 1 19 In this episode, Teri discusses how to use IFTTT and Amazon Alexa together to open the door to even more functionality with your Amazon Echo device.

IFTTT and Amazon Alexa

IFTTT stands for IF This, Then That! This is an app that allows you to integrate different services to increase the functionality of each of the services. This includes hundreds of different services – everything from email to social media, calendars to smart home products, and of course ALEXA, among many, many others!

IFTTT is based on “Applets” or “Recipes” – these are essentially simple logic commands that cause one service to trigger an action in another service. For example, having a timer go off on Alexa (i.e. the trigger) can cause a light to go on elsewhere (i.e. the action). Or adding something to your to-do list on Alexa (i.e. the trigger) can cause the item to be emailed to your inbox (i.e. the action). There are literally thousands of IFTTT applets that can be developed.

Now here is the caveat: As us Canadians know all too well, some of the functionality is not available in Canada while it is available in the States. Nevertheless, there is still a lot that we can do with IFTTT and Amazon Alexa in Canada.

How to you use Pre-Built applets for IFTTT and Amazon Alexa?

  1. Create a free account at IFTTT.
  2. Search for “Amazon Alexa.”
  3. Provide your Amazon account credentials.
  4. Select an Applet that is already created and then activate it (you will need to enter the credentials for any other service you want to use).

How to Create your Own Applet for IFTTT and Amazon Alexa?

  1. Create a free account at IFTTT.
  2. Click on your username.
  3. Click on New Applet.
  4. Click on “+ this” (i.e. the trigger) in the middle of the screen.
  5. Search for “Amazon Alexa.”
  6. Provide your Amazon account credentials.
  7. Choose a trigger from among the provided list:
  • Say a specific phrase
  • Ask what’s on your To Do List
  • Item added to your To Do List
  • Item completed on your To Do List
  • Item edited on your To Do List
  • Item deleted on your To Do List
  • Ask what’s on your Shopping List
  • Item added to your Shopping List
  • Item completed on your Shopping List
  • Item edited on your Shopping List
  • Item deleted on your Shopping List
  • Ask for a sports team’s score
  • Ask for a sports team’s next game
  • New song played
  • Your alarm goes off
  • Your timer goes off
  1. Click on “+ that” (i.e. the action) in the middle of the screen.
  2. Search for the action service you want to use (e.g. Kasa app) and click on the icon.
  3. Choose a specific action (these options will depend on the specific service you have selected)
  4. Now your Alexa trigger is set to cause an action on the particular service you selected!

Now what?

Have fun! Experiment with different IFTTT Applets and see what you come up with! And make sure to comment below if you find an applet that is really creative, unique, or useful. I look forward to seeing what you do with IFTTT and Amazon Alexa!

List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
In this episode, Teri discusses how to use IFTTT and Amazon Alexa together to open the door to even more functionality with your Amazon Echo device.

IFTTT and Amazon Alexa

IFTTT stands for IF This, Then That! This is an app that allows you to integrate different services to increase the functionality of each of the services. This includes hundreds of different services – everything from email to social media, calendars to smart home products, and of course ALEXA, among many, many others!

IFTTT is based on “Applets” or “Recipes” – these are essentially simple logic commands that cause one service to trigger an action in another service. For example, having a timer go off on Alexa (i.e. the trigger) can cause a light to go on elsewhere (i.e. the action). Or adding something to your to-do list on Alexa (i.e. the trigger) can cause the item to be emailed to your inbox (i.e. the action). There are literally thousands of IFTTT applets that can be developed.

Now here is the caveat: As us Canadians know all too well, some of the functionality is not available in Canada while it is available in the States. Nevertheless, there is still a lot that we can do with IFTTT and Amazon Alexa in Canada.

How to you use Pre-Built applets for IFTTT and Amazon Alexa?

  1. Create a free account at IFTTT.
  2. Search for “Amazon Alexa.”
  3. Provide your Amazon account credentials.
  4. Select an Applet that is already created and then activate it (you will need to enter the credentials for any other service you want to use).

How to Create your Own Applet for IFTTT and Amazon Alexa?

  1. Create a free account at IFTTT.
  2. Click on your username.
  3. Click on New Applet.
  4. Click on “+ this” (i.e. the trigger) in the middle of the screen.
  5. Search for “Amazon Alexa.”
  6. Provide your Amazon account credentials.
  7. Choose a trigger from among the provided list:
  • Say a specific phrase
  • Ask what’s on your To Do List
  • Item added to your To Do List
  • Item completed on your To Do List
  • Item edited on your To Do List
  • Item deleted on your To Do List
  • Ask what’s on your Shopping List
  • Item added to your Shopping List
  • Item completed on your Shopping List
  • Item edited on your Shopping List
  • Item deleted on your Shopping List
  • Ask for a sports team’s score
  • Ask for a sports team’s next game
  • New song played
  • Your alarm goes off
  • Your timer goes off
  1. Click on “+ that” (i.e. the action) in the middle of the screen.
  2. Search for the action service you want to use (e.g. Kasa app) and click on the icon.
  3. Choose a specific action (these options will depend on the specific service you have selected)
  4. Now your Alexa trigger is set to cause an action on the particular service you selected!

Now what?

Have fun! Experiment with different IFTTT Applets and see what you come up with! And make sure to comment below if you find an applet that is really creative, unique, or useful. I look forward to seeing what you do with IFTTT and Amazon Alexa!

List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
<![CDATA[How to Create a Flash Briefing #18]]> Tue, 20 Mar 2018 07:00:00 GMT 22:45 5ab081d58c2a521341faccda no full 1 18 Wondering how to create a flash briefing? Whether you want to promote your business, share your hobby, or raise awareness for your non-profit, now is the time to create a flash briefing. In this episode, Teri reveals the step by step instructions on how to create a flash briefing for Amazon Alexa… with no coding required!




Create a Flash Briefing

Flash briefings are the new podcasts… as least as far as I am concerned! If you are interested in getting your message out to the world, in my opinion there is simply no better way than to create a flash briefing. In my experience, good quality flash briefings are being consumed at a rate equal to or greater than that of podcasts. For example, 4 months after launching the Alexa in Canada Podcast, I was getting approximately 200 people listening to each episode on the day it was released (and less on the other days of the week). Compare that to the Voice in Canada Flash Briefing: after only 2 weeks, I was already getting 300 listeners every single day!

When it comes to audio content, flash briefings are the new frontier. This is the next big thing in audio, so my suggestion is don’t wait any longer – go create a flash briefing now!

Whether you want to promote your business, share your passion for a hobby, or raise awareness for your non-profit organization, now is the time to create a flash briefing. Below I outline the simple steps on how to create a flash briefing that anyone can follow. And there is no coding required!!



Step 1: Decide on Your Topic

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but before you begin to create a flash briefing it is really important to think carefully about your topic, and what you will be talking about. The most successful flash briefings are the ones that consistently put out great content. You have to be willing to commit to create a flash briefing episode on a daily basis. So, make sure that you have enough to say about your topic to make a daily show that is engaging, exciting, and valuable for your audience.

Can you imagine yourself doing this 365 days from now and still going strong with fresh ideas? Think about your general topic and then brainstorm (and write down!) at least 30 individual episode topics for your show. To help you out, here are a couple of subtopics to get the creative juices flowing: news, reviews, tips, tricks, deals, scores, updates, seasonal items…. the list really goes on and on, limited only by your imagination.



Step 2: Record an Episode (or a few!)

Are you cut out for this? Well, before you dive into setting up your Flash Briefing hosting service and your Amazon Developer account (don’t worry, both are really easy to setup!), try recording an episode for your first Flash Briefing and see how you like it. You could just use your mobile phone and get going, but keep in mind that the higher quality the audio, the more polished and professional your show will be!

Here is the audio equipment that I recommend. It’s relatively inexpensive and works great! It is excellent value for the money and this is what I used (and still use!) to create my top-rated Flash Briefing:

  1. Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB/XLR Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
  2. NEEWER Adjustable Microphone Suspension Stand
  3. On Stage MY420 Studio Microphone Shock Mount
  4. Dragonpad Pop Filter Studio Microphone Wind Screen 

So, consider using some good audio equipment and a program such at GarageBand or Audacity for the recordings. Once you decide how you will record the episodes, go ahead, push record, and create your first flash briefing episode! Even better, get ahead of schedule and pre-record a week’s worth of episodes.

Also, keep in mind a few key points:

  • Make your flash briefing episodes short. I suggest keeping your audio files under a few minutes. I aim for approximately 2 minutes with each of my episodes.
  • The main purpose of each audio episode should be to provide informative and entertaining content to your listeners. Try to avoid advertising, plugs, or promotions.
  • Use high-quality audio formats. Amazon suggests using the MP3 format with a bit rate of at least 256kbps (this is a setting you choose when exporting your file from your recording software).
  • Make sure your audio is free of distracting background or other noises.
  • And finally, try to keep a consistent volume within each episode and between episodes.

Step 3: Decide Where you Will Host your Audio Files

So you got your first recording under your belt! Awesome job. That’s the first big step to create a flash briefing. Now what? Well, we need a place to upload those audio files so that when listeners ask Alexa for your flash briefing, she has a reliable, simple place to find them.

There are lots of ways to host your audio files, some more complicated than others, but I promised that this would be simple and coding-free, didn’t I?! Over the years, I have tried a number of audio hosting services and I now highly recommend Pippa.io. This is because they have made it extremely easy to setup a flash briefing, particularly because there is no coding or programming required. Simon Marcus, the CEO of Pippa.io, joined me on my podcast to discuss Pippa.io and how he, his team, and I developed the flash briefing feature in consultation with each other.

Note that in the spirit of full transparency, I am an affiliate for Pippa.io because I believe they offer such an incredible service. If you choose to use them, make sure to use the coupon code “alexaincanada” (without the quotes) to get a free month of serviceClick here to go to Pippa.io

Regardless of who you choose to host your audio, make sure that the host can provide a publicly-accessible RSS or JSON feed, secured with an https URL. Pippa does this all automatically!

Once you have setup your audio host, follow their instructions to create a flash briefing show and upload your audio files.



Step 4: Register as an Amazon Developer

The next step to create a flash briefing is to signup for an Amazon Developer account. This is completely free, but it is absolutely required. This is where you will submit your flash briefing to Amazon so Alexa knows that your show exists. Go to https://developer.amazon.com/login.html and create a free account.



Step 5: Create a New Skill in the Developer Console Beta

Once you have your developer account setup, it’s time to create a flash briefing skill. Go to the Alexa Skills Kit Developer Console at https://developer.amazon.com/alexa/console/ask and then follow along with these instructions:

  1. Click on Create Skill.
  2. Enter the Name for your skill. This name will be seen by users in the Alexa App. Make sure this name does not imply sponsorship by Amazon, or infringe on the copyright, trademark and publicity rights of a third party. Click Next.
  3. In the Language drop-down, choose the language for your skill. A Flash Briefing skill targets a single language and you cannot change the language once you select it. To create a flash briefing for the Canada Amazon store, (i.e. Amazon.ca) choose English (CA). To create a flash briefing in the American Amazon Skill Store (i.e. Amazon.com), choose English (US). Likewise, if you want your flash briefing in another country, choose the appropriate language.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Select the Flash Briefing Pre-Built model.
  6. Finally, click Create Skill. This will automatically take you to the Build tab (seen at the top left of the screen).

Step 6: Set up an Error Message

Enter a Custom Error Message. Alexa says this message to the user if there are any problems retrieving the flash briefing for some reason. Hopefully, your audience will never hear this! Just type something like, for example, “Voice in Canada is not available at the moment.” There is a 100 character maximum for this phrase. Make sure this message is in the language you chose for your skill. This means if you are creating an English Flash Briefing, your error message should be in English.



Step 7: Add One or More Flash Briefing Feed(s)

When you create a flash briefing skill, you have the option to setup multiple feeds of text or audio content. Typically each feed focuses on a specific genre of content such as sports or local news. Alexa will read a text feed, called text-to-speech (TTS) or play recorded audio files. One feed must serve as the default feed, which is always turned on for the skill. The remainder of the feeds for a flash briefing can be turned on by the user that enables your skill. Most flash briefings only have 1 feed, but you technically could have multiple feeds covering different sub-topics all under one umbrella flash briefing skill.

Here are the instruction on how to add a feed. For most flash briefings you would only have to do this once (i.e there would just be the single default feed). If you have multiple feeds, repeat the following steps or each feed.

  1. Click Add New Feed.
  2. Enter a Preamble Message. This is a short introduction for the feed that Alexa reads to the user before the actual audio is played. It should start with “In” or “From”. For example, “From Voice in Canada…”. The preamble is limited to 70 characters, and should be in the same language you chose for your skill.
  3. Enter a Name for the particular feed – choose a name that is unique to this skill and helps users determine the content. For flash briefings with one feed, this feed name can be the same as your skill name. For those with multiple feeds choose something that describes the feed. For example, “Developer news.”
  4. Choose the Content update frequency. This is how often the feed will have new content. You can choose: hourly, daily, or weekly. I recommend daily (but remember, you have to commit to doing it daily!).
  5. Choose your Content type. This is the format of the feed content. You can choose Text or Audio. I recommend audio, which is an actual audio file that you record. The rest of these instructions show how to setup this type of feed. (FYI: The other option – text – is to have Alexa read the text in her voice.)
  6. Select the best description of your Content genre from the drop-down box.
  7. Now, the moment of truth… it’s time to identify the location of your audio files, i.e. your Feed. As mentioned previously, there are lots of different ways to host your audio files. Whatever you decide to do, the feed field is where you paste the link (i.e. the JSON or RSS URL) to your audio files. The URL cannot be any destination which requires the user to login. Here is where Pippa.io really makes things simple! Remember when you setup your audio host with Pippa? Well, go back to your account, click on your flash briefing show, and then click on Distribution. Click on the Alexa Flash icon. Now simply copy the Alexa Field URL and past it into the Feed field on your Amazon Developer account. The last thing to do is edit the number at the end of the link – it can be any number from 1 to 5. This number tells Amazon how many of the latest audio files to play when a user requests your flash briefing. For most cases I suggest setting this at 1 so Alexa plays only the single most recent audio file at any given time. And that’s it! Easy, huh?!
  8. Now choose your Feed icon. This is a 512 x 512 pixel PNG (can include transparency) or JPG file that represents your feed. This image will display in the Alexa App. Again, make sure that the icon does not imply sponsorship by Amazon, or infringe on the copyright, trademark and publicity rights of a third party.
  9. Click Add.
  10. Click Save.
  11. Optional: Repeat these steps for each feed you provide for the skill. The first feed you add will automatically be marked as the default feed. If you add more feeds, you can choose which feed is the default, by selecting it in the Default column.
  12. Click the Test tab at the top left of the screen when you are finished adding feeds and are ready to test your skill.

Step 8: Test Your Flash Briefing Skill

The next step in skill creation is to test the Flash Briefing skill on your Alexa-enabled device. You must have this device registered to the same account as your developer account for your skill to display.

  1. On the Test tab in the developer portal, move the the slider in the top left corner to Enable to begin the testing.
  2. Click and hold the microphone icon and say,”Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?” or “Alexa, what’s the news?” Alexa should respond with “Here is your flash briefing.”
  3. (Don’t worry if you get an “Unsupported Directive. AudioPlayer is currently an unsupported namespace. Check the device log for more information” error message. Just ignore it!)
  4. Now go to your Alexa App > Skills and find your skill by applying the Your Skills filter, and enable the skill.
  5. After you enable your skill, you can ask Alexa, “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?” or “Alexa, what’s the news?” Your content should play or be read by your Alexa device.
  6. If you have multiple feeds, you should enable all of them and test them with your Alexa device or app.
  7. When you have finished testing your flash briefing and you are ready to move on, click the Launch tab in the upper left of the screen.

Step 9: Provide Launch Information for your Skill

The descriptions and images you provide on the Launch Information page provide the content that displays in the Alexa App. Users can scroll through a list of skills, and select a skill to see more detailed information. The interaction model is already defined so the most important information you provide is a short and long description of your skill, and the images that identify your flash briefing.

  1. Fill in the Public Name. This is the name of the flash briefing that will be displayed to users in the Alexa app. It can be different from your invocation name, but I suggest keeping it the same. It must be between 2-50 characters.
  2. Fill in the One Sentence Description. This is a quick, at-a-glance description that describes the flash briefing. This will display in the skill list in the Alexa App. It can be a maximum of 160 characters.
  3. Fill in the Detailed Description. This is a more comprehensive description of this skill. This description is shown to users on the skill detail card in the Alexa app. If you have multiple feeds, list the different feeds offered here.
  4. Don’t worry about the Example Phrases. They are automatically set for Flash Briefings and cannot be changed.
  5. Upload a Small Skill Icon. This is a 108 x 108 pixel PNG (can include transparency) or JPG file that represents your skill. You can make this the same as your feed icon, just a smaller version. In fact I recommend it, particularly if you only have 1 feed.
  6. Upload a Large Skill Icon. This is a 512 x 512 pixel PNG (can include transparency) or JPG file that represents your skill. This can be the exact same icon as your feed icon.
  7. Select a Category from the drop-down box that best describes your flash briefing. This helps users find your skill quickly and easily.
  8. Optional, but highly recommended: Enter some Keywords, or simple search words that relate to or describe your flash briefing. This helps users to find your flash briefing. Make sure to use spaces or commas between each search term.
  9. Optional: Enter the link to the Privacy Policy URL that applies to your flash briefing.
  10. Optional: Enter the link to the Terms of Use URL that applies to your flash briefing.
  11. Click Save and Continue.

Step 10: Answer the Privacy and Compliance Questions

The Privacy and Compliance page lists questions that are required for every skill, including flash briefings. Note that a Flash Briefing skill should NOT enable users to make purchases or ask customers for personal information.

  1. Answer No to the first question regarding allowing purchases.
  2. Answer No to the second question regarding collecting personal information.
  3. Answer the next 2 questions regarding targeting children and advertising as applicable to your particular flash briefing.
  4. Under Export Compliance, check to certify that your Flash Briefing skill may be imported to and exported from the United States and all countries that Amazon operates. Note: Your flash briefing will only display to customers in countries where the primary language of the country matches the skill language. For example, an English (CA) skill displays in Canada. An English (US) skill displays in other countries (including the US) where English is the primary language.
  5. Under Testing instructions, simply type ‘None’.
  6. Click Save and Continue.

Step 11: Set the Availability and Beta Test the Flash Briefing

  1. Answer the question, Who should have access to this skill? Select Public, unless of course you are creating a flash briefing to be used by a particular business.
  2. Optional: Beta Test your flash briefing. Click on the arrow in the beta test box. Enter your email address in the “Beta Test Administrator Email Address” box and then click Add. Then click on the arrow next to “Add Beta testers”, add the email addresses of people that you want to include in the beta test, and then click Add. Finally, click on Enable Beta Testing. Your beta testers will receive an email inviting them to beta test the flash briefing. Make sure to let them know about the beta test and make sure to gather feedback so you can continue to improve your flash briefing.
  3. Answer the question, Where would you like your skill to be available? I recommend selecting “In all countries…” to make your skill available to users worldwide. Select “Selected countries and regions” to limit the flash briefing to the specified countries. Your flash briefing needs to support the primary language for each of the specified countries to be accessible by users in those countries.
  4. Click Save and Continue.

Step 12: Perform Final Review and Submit for Certification

  1. Check for any flags that indicate that you have forgotten something or are missing an element.
  2. When everything looks good to go (i.e. you see a nice, big, green checkmark), click Submit for Review.

Step 13: Celebrate!

You’re done! Awesome job! Now sit back, relax, and wait for Amazon to email you back to tell you that the flash briefing is live. Amazon says that this can take up to 5 business days, but in my experience this usually happens within 24 hours. There is a chance that Amazon may reject it for various reasons, but they will always provide feedback if this is the case. It’s usually not a big deal – just fix the issue they identified and then resubmit it! Before you know it, you will have your flash briefing live and your message will be available to the world! Congrats!



Need some Extra Help?

If you follow along with the steps outlined above, you should have all the info and settings that you need to get your flash briefing up and running.

However, if you would like some personalized help with the recording, marketing, technology, or any other aspects of your particular flash briefing, I am pleased to be able to offer some limited time for flash briefing consultations. Please feel free to contact me here, tell me a little about your flash briefing ideas, and I will get back to you with the rates and some scheduling information as soon as I can.

Good luck with your flash briefing!!



List of resources mentioned in this episode:

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Wondering how to create a flash briefing? Whether you want to promote your business, share your hobby, or raise awareness for your non-profit, now is the time to create a flash briefing. In this episode, Teri reveals the step by step instructions on how to create a flash briefing for Amazon Alexa… with no coding required!




Create a Flash Briefing

Flash briefings are the new podcasts… as least as far as I am concerned! If you are interested in getting your message out to the world, in my opinion there is simply no better way than to create a flash briefing. In my experience, good quality flash briefings are being consumed at a rate equal to or greater than that of podcasts. For example, 4 months after launching the Alexa in Canada Podcast, I was getting approximately 200 people listening to each episode on the day it was released (and less on the other days of the week). Compare that to the Voice in Canada Flash Briefing: after only 2 weeks, I was already getting 300 listeners every single day!

When it comes to audio content, flash briefings are the new frontier. This is the next big thing in audio, so my suggestion is don’t wait any longer – go create a flash briefing now!

Whether you want to promote your business, share your passion for a hobby, or raise awareness for your non-profit organization, now is the time to create a flash briefing. Below I outline the simple steps on how to create a flash briefing that anyone can follow. And there is no coding required!!



Step 1: Decide on Your Topic

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but before you begin to create a flash briefing it is really important to think carefully about your topic, and what you will be talking about. The most successful flash briefings are the ones that consistently put out great content. You have to be willing to commit to create a flash briefing episode on a daily basis. So, make sure that you have enough to say about your topic to make a daily show that is engaging, exciting, and valuable for your audience.

Can you imagine yourself doing this 365 days from now and still going strong with fresh ideas? Think about your general topic and then brainstorm (and write down!) at least 30 individual episode topics for your show. To help you out, here are a couple of subtopics to get the creative juices flowing: news, reviews, tips, tricks, deals, scores, updates, seasonal items…. the list really goes on and on, limited only by your imagination.



Step 2: Record an Episode (or a few!)

Are you cut out for this? Well, before you dive into setting up your Flash Briefing hosting service and your Amazon Developer account (don’t worry, both are really easy to setup!), try recording an episode for your first Flash Briefing and see how you like it. You could just use your mobile phone and get going, but keep in mind that the higher quality the audio, the more polished and professional your show will be!

Here is the audio equipment that I recommend. It’s relatively inexpensive and works great! It is excellent value for the money and this is what I used (and still use!) to create my top-rated Flash Briefing:

  1. Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB/XLR Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
  2. NEEWER Adjustable Microphone Suspension Stand
  3. On Stage MY420 Studio Microphone Shock Mount
  4. Dragonpad Pop Filter Studio Microphone Wind Screen 

So, consider using some good audio equipment and a program such at GarageBand or Audacity for the recordings. Once you decide how you will record the episodes, go ahead, push record, and create your first flash briefing episode! Even better, get ahead of schedule and pre-record a week’s worth of episodes.

Also, keep in mind a few key points:

  • Make your flash briefing episodes short. I suggest keeping your audio files under a few minutes. I aim for approximately 2 minutes with each of my episodes.
  • The main purpose of each audio episode should be to provide informative and entertaining content to your listeners. Try to avoid advertising, plugs, or promotions.
  • Use high-quality audio formats. Amazon suggests using the MP3 format with a bit rate of at least 256kbps (this is a setting you choose when exporting your file from your recording software).
  • Make sure your audio is free of distracting background or other noises.
  • And finally, try to keep a consistent volume within each episode and between episodes.

Step 3: Decide Where you Will Host your Audio Files

So you got your first recording under your belt! Awesome job. That’s the first big step to create a flash briefing. Now what? Well, we need a place to upload those audio files so that when listeners ask Alexa for your flash briefing, she has a reliable, simple place to find them.

There are lots of ways to host your audio files, some more complicated than others, but I promised that this would be simple and coding-free, didn’t I?! Over the years, I have tried a number of audio hosting services and I now highly recommend Pippa.io. This is because they have made it extremely easy to setup a flash briefing, particularly because there is no coding or programming required. Simon Marcus, the CEO of Pippa.io, joined me on my podcast to discuss Pippa.io and how he, his team, and I developed the flash briefing feature in consultation with each other.

Note that in the spirit of full transparency, I am an affiliate for Pippa.io because I believe they offer such an incredible service. If you choose to use them, make sure to use the coupon code “alexaincanada” (without the quotes) to get a free month of serviceClick here to go to Pippa.io

Regardless of who you choose to host your audio, make sure that the host can provide a publicly-accessible RSS or JSON feed, secured with an https URL. Pippa does this all automatically!

Once you have setup your audio host, follow their instructions to create a flash briefing show and upload your audio files.



Step 4: Register as an Amazon Developer

The next step to create a flash briefing is to signup for an Amazon Developer account. This is completely free, but it is absolutely required. This is where you will submit your flash briefing to Amazon so Alexa knows that your show exists. Go to https://developer.amazon.com/login.html and create a free account.



Step 5: Create a New Skill in the Developer Console Beta

Once you have your developer account setup, it’s time to create a flash briefing skill. Go to the Alexa Skills Kit Developer Console at https://developer.amazon.com/alexa/console/ask and then follow along with these instructions:

  1. Click on Create Skill.
  2. Enter the Name for your skill. This name will be seen by users in the Alexa App. Make sure this name does not imply sponsorship by Amazon, or infringe on the copyright, trademark and publicity rights of a third party. Click Next.
  3. In the Language drop-down, choose the language for your skill. A Flash Briefing skill targets a single language and you cannot change the language once you select it. To create a flash briefing for the Canada Amazon store, (i.e. Amazon.ca) choose English (CA). To create a flash briefing in the American Amazon Skill Store (i.e. Amazon.com), choose English (US). Likewise, if you want your flash briefing in another country, choose the appropriate language.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Select the Flash Briefing Pre-Built model.
  6. Finally, click Create Skill. This will automatically take you to the Build tab (seen at the top left of the screen).

Step 6: Set up an Error Message

Enter a Custom Error Message. Alexa says this message to the user if there are any problems retrieving the flash briefing for some reason. Hopefully, your audience will never hear this! Just type something like, for example, “Voice in Canada is not available at the moment.” There is a 100 character maximum for this phrase. Make sure this message is in the language you chose for your skill. This means if you are creating an English Flash Briefing, your error message should be in English.



Step 7: Add One or More Flash Briefing Feed(s)

When you create a flash briefing skill, you have the option to setup multiple feeds of text or audio content. Typically each feed focuses on a specific genre of content such as sports or local news. Alexa will read a text feed, called text-to-speech (TTS) or play recorded audio files. One feed must serve as the default feed, which is always turned on for the skill. The remainder of the feeds for a flash briefing can be turned on by the user that enables your skill. Most flash briefings only have 1 feed, but you technically could have multiple feeds covering different sub-topics all under one umbrella flash briefing skill.

Here are the instruction on how to add a feed. For most flash briefings you would only have to do this once (i.e there would just be the single default feed). If you have multiple feeds, repeat the following steps or each feed.

  1. Click Add New Feed.
  2. Enter a Preamble Message. This is a short introduction for the feed that Alexa reads to the user before the actual audio is played. It should start with “In” or “From”. For example, “From Voice in Canada…”. The preamble is limited to 70 characters, and should be in the same language you chose for your skill.
  3. Enter a Name for the particular feed – choose a name that is unique to this skill and helps users determine the content. For flash briefings with one feed, this feed name can be the same as your skill name. For those with multiple feeds choose something that describes the feed. For example, “Developer news.”
  4. Choose the Content update frequency. This is how often the feed will have new content. You can choose: hourly, daily, or weekly. I recommend daily (but remember, you have to commit to doing it daily!).
  5. Choose your Content type. This is the format of the feed content. You can choose Text or Audio. I recommend audio, which is an actual audio file that you record. The rest of these instructions show how to setup this type of feed. (FYI: The other option – text – is to have Alexa read the text in her voice.)
  6. Select the best description of your Content genre from the drop-down box.
  7. Now, the moment of truth… it’s time to identify the location of your audio files, i.e. your Feed. As mentioned previously, there are lots of different ways to host your audio files. Whatever you decide to do, the feed field is where you paste the link (i.e. the JSON or RSS URL) to your audio files. The URL cannot be any destination which requires the user to login. Here is where Pippa.io really makes things simple! Remember when you setup your audio host with Pippa? Well, go back to your account, click on your flash briefing show, and then click on Distribution. Click on the Alexa Flash icon. Now simply copy the Alexa Field URL and past it into the Feed field on your Amazon Developer account. The last thing to do is edit the number at the end of the link – it can be any number from 1 to 5. This number tells Amazon how many of the latest audio files to play when a user requests your flash briefing. For most cases I suggest setting this at 1 so Alexa plays only the single most recent audio file at any given time. And that’s it! Easy, huh?!
  8. Now choose your Feed icon. This is a 512 x 512 pixel PNG (can include transparency) or JPG file that represents your feed. This image will display in the Alexa App. Again, make sure that the icon does not imply sponsorship by Amazon, or infringe on the copyright, trademark and publicity rights of a third party.
  9. Click Add.
  10. Click Save.
  11. Optional: Repeat these steps for each feed you provide for the skill. The first feed you add will automatically be marked as the default feed. If you add more feeds, you can choose which feed is the default, by selecting it in the Default column.
  12. Click the Test tab at the top left of the screen when you are finished adding feeds and are ready to test your skill.

Step 8: Test Your Flash Briefing Skill

The next step in skill creation is to test the Flash Briefing skill on your Alexa-enabled device. You must have this device registered to the same account as your developer account for your skill to display.

  1. On the Test tab in the developer portal, move the the slider in the top left corner to Enable to begin the testing.
  2. Click and hold the microphone icon and say,”Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?” or “Alexa, what’s the news?” Alexa should respond with “Here is your flash briefing.”
  3. (Don’t worry if you get an “Unsupported Directive. AudioPlayer is currently an unsupported namespace. Check the device log for more information” error message. Just ignore it!)
  4. Now go to your Alexa App > Skills and find your skill by applying the Your Skills filter, and enable the skill.
  5. After you enable your skill, you can ask Alexa, “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?” or “Alexa, what’s the news?” Your content should play or be read by your Alexa device.
  6. If you have multiple feeds, you should enable all of them and test them with your Alexa device or app.
  7. When you have finished testing your flash briefing and you are ready to move on, click the Launch tab in the upper left of the screen.

Step 9: Provide Launch Information for your Skill

The descriptions and images you provide on the Launch Information page provide the content that displays in the Alexa App. Users can scroll through a list of skills, and select a skill to see more detailed information. The interaction model is already defined so the most important information you provide is a short and long description of your skill, and the images that identify your flash briefing.

  1. Fill in the Public Name. This is the name of the flash briefing that will be displayed to users in the Alexa app. It can be different from your invocation name, but I suggest keeping it the same. It must be between 2-50 characters.
  2. Fill in the One Sentence Description. This is a quick, at-a-glance description that describes the flash briefing. This will display in the skill list in the Alexa App. It can be a maximum of 160 characters.
  3. Fill in the Detailed Description. This is a more comprehensive description of this skill. This description is shown to users on the skill detail card in the Alexa app. If you have multiple feeds, list the different feeds offered here.
  4. Don’t worry about the Example Phrases. They are automatically set for Flash Briefings and cannot be changed.
  5. Upload a Small Skill Icon. This is a 108 x 108 pixel PNG (can include transparency) or JPG file that represents your skill. You can make this the same as your feed icon, just a smaller version. In fact I recommend it, particularly if you only have 1 feed.
  6. Upload a Large Skill Icon. This is a 512 x 512 pixel PNG (can include transparency) or JPG file that represents your skill. This can be the exact same icon as your feed icon.
  7. Select a Category from the drop-down box that best describes your flash briefing. This helps users find your skill quickly and easily.
  8. Optional, but highly recommended: Enter some Keywords, or simple search words that relate to or describe your flash briefing. This helps users to find your flash briefing. Make sure to use spaces or commas between each search term.
  9. Optional: Enter the link to the Privacy Policy URL that applies to your flash briefing.
  10. Optional: Enter the link to the Terms of Use URL that applies to your flash briefing.
  11. Click Save and Continue.

Step 10: Answer the Privacy and Compliance Questions

The Privacy and Compliance page lists questions that are required for every skill, including flash briefings. Note that a Flash Briefing skill should NOT enable users to make purchases or ask customers for personal information.

  1. Answer No to the first question regarding allowing purchases.
  2. Answer No to the second question regarding collecting personal information.
  3. Answer the next 2 questions regarding targeting children and advertising as applicable to your particular flash briefing.
  4. Under Export Compliance, check to certify that your Flash Briefing skill may be imported to and exported from the United States and all countries that Amazon operates. Note: Your flash briefing will only display to customers in countries where the primary language of the country matches the skill language. For example, an English (CA) skill displays in Canada. An English (US) skill displays in other countries (including the US) where English is the primary language.
  5. Under Testing instructions, simply type ‘None’.
  6. Click Save and Continue.

Step 11: Set the Availability and Beta Test the Flash Briefing

  1. Answer the question, Who should have access to this skill? Select Public, unless of course you are creating a flash briefing to be used by a particular business.
  2. Optional: Beta Test your flash briefing. Click on the arrow in the beta test box. Enter your email address in the “Beta Test Administrator Email Address” box and then click Add. Then click on the arrow next to “Add Beta testers”, add the email addresses of people that you want to include in the beta test, and then click Add. Finally, click on Enable Beta Testing. Your beta testers will receive an email inviting them to beta test the flash briefing. Make sure to let them know about the beta test and make sure to gather feedback so you can continue to improve your flash briefing.
  3. Answer the question, Where would you like your skill to be available? I recommend selecting “In all countries…” to make your skill available to users worldwide. Select “Selected countries and regions” to limit the flash briefing to the specified countries. Your flash briefing needs to support the primary language for each of the specified countries to be accessible by users in those countries.
  4. Click Save and Continue.

Step 12: Perform Final Review and Submit for Certification

  1. Check for any flags that indicate that you have forgotten something or are missing an element.
  2. When everything looks good to go (i.e. you see a nice, big, green checkmark), click Submit for Review.

Step 13: Celebrate!

You’re done! Awesome job! Now sit back, relax, and wait for Amazon to email you back to tell you that the flash briefing is live. Amazon says that this can take up to 5 business days, but in my experience this usually happens within 24 hours. There is a chance that Amazon may reject it for various reasons, but they will always provide feedback if this is the case. It’s usually not a big deal – just fix the issue they identified and then resubmit it! Before you know it, you will have your flash briefing live and your message will be available to the world! Congrats!



Need some Extra Help?

If you follow along with the steps outlined above, you should have all the info and settings that you need to get your flash briefing up and running.

However, if you would like some personalized help with the recording, marketing, technology, or any other aspects of your particular flash briefing, I am pleased to be able to offer some limited time for flash briefing consultations. Please feel free to contact me here, tell me a little about your flash briefing ideas, and I will get back to you with the rates and some scheduling information as soon as I can.

Good luck with your flash briefing!!



List of resources mentioned in this episode:

]]>
<![CDATA[Smart Home Lighting and Alexa #17]]> Tue, 13 Mar 2018 07:00:00 GMT 20:23 5aa205d909689f487cfd5177 no full 1 17 In this episode, Teri talks about the options for smart home lighting and talks about his experience and recommendations for Alexa-controlled smart lighting.


Smart Home Lighting and Alexa

As you will recall, in Episode 12 of this podcast, I interviewed Jesus Gallardo about smart home automation. He suggested that the easiest way to get started with home automation was through smart lighting.

Well, I decided to take his advice and once I started doing some further research, this is what I discovered…

My Research on Smart Home Lighting

After the conversation with Jesus Gallardo, I started to look at the different types of smart lighting you can choose to buy. I discovered that there are 3 different categories, each with their own pros and cons:

1. Smart light bulbs

Pros

  • Very simple to setup; you simply replace the lightbulbs.
  • This is the only option that allows you to change the colour of the lights.
  • You can use the light colours to alert you to various conditions, such as weather, alarms, etc.
  • You can setup scenes using the colours (e.g. sunset mood, sunrise mood, etc.).
  • You can dim these lights.
  • Good for areas that do not have a neutral wire in the switch electrical box (see below).

Cons

  • Some smart lightbulbs require a hub.
  • The lightbulb will only respond to your voice or your app IF the wall switch is on. If the wall light switch is turned off, you must use the wall light switch to turn them back on before you can control them with your Alexa or the app.
  • Can be expensive, if you need to replace many light bulbs.

Recommended Brands

Bottom Line

Great for people who want control of the colour and intensity of their lights.

2. Smart outlets

Pros

  • Very simple to setup; you simply plug the outlet into your wall socket and then you plug your lamp (or other device) into the outlet.
  • This will work well for lights with a plug (i.e. table light, desk lamp, etc.)

Cons

  • This will not work for lights that are hard wired into you home (i.e. you control them with a wall switch)
  • You cannot change the colour of the light.

Recommended Brands

Bottom line

Great for people with floor lamps, desk lamps with plugs, and do not care about changing the colour of their lights.

3. Smart light wall switches

Pros

  • This option gives you the most control of your lights – you can control your lights through your app, Alexa, or the switch itself at ALL times. This is because there is always power going to the switch (as long as you have a neutral wire in the electrical box of the switch)
  • Less expensive if the switch controls a large bank of ceiling or wall lights (i.e. you only need to change one switch instead of multiple light bulbs).

Cons

  • This requires some electrical work. If you do not know what you are doing make sure to ask someone who does, or hire an electrician.
  • You need a neutral wire. You can check this by turning off your power and then looking inside the wall electrical box – you should see a white “extra” wire.
  • You cannot change the colour of the light.

Recommended Brand

Bottom line

Best for people who want to have the most control of their lighting, and are comfortable doing some simple electrical work.

What do I think of using Alexa for Smart Home lighting?

When I first installed the smart lighting, I wasn’t sure how much I would use it. Now that I have it, I love it!

I have discovered some really great use-case scenarios. I have two levels in my home and it’s nice at the end of the day when I’m going up to bed upstairs to just say “Alexa, lights off” and all the downstairs lights just shut off together. I don’t have to worry about running around to check if any lights are still on.

It is really great when I am coming to home and my hands are full. Sometime I’m hauling hockey equipment behind me for my kids and I’ve got a bag on my shoulder and we can just say “Alexa, entrance hall light on” or “Alexa, family room light on” and it just gets done.

I’m very happy with the product that I’ve got, I do not hesitate to recommend them at all and hopefully you will enjoy using your Alexa-controlled smart lighting as well!

List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
In this episode, Teri talks about the options for smart home lighting and talks about his experience and recommendations for Alexa-controlled smart lighting.


Smart Home Lighting and Alexa

As you will recall, in Episode 12 of this podcast, I interviewed Jesus Gallardo about smart home automation. He suggested that the easiest way to get started with home automation was through smart lighting.

Well, I decided to take his advice and once I started doing some further research, this is what I discovered…

My Research on Smart Home Lighting

After the conversation with Jesus Gallardo, I started to look at the different types of smart lighting you can choose to buy. I discovered that there are 3 different categories, each with their own pros and cons:

1. Smart light bulbs

Pros

  • Very simple to setup; you simply replace the lightbulbs.
  • This is the only option that allows you to change the colour of the lights.
  • You can use the light colours to alert you to various conditions, such as weather, alarms, etc.
  • You can setup scenes using the colours (e.g. sunset mood, sunrise mood, etc.).
  • You can dim these lights.
  • Good for areas that do not have a neutral wire in the switch electrical box (see below).

Cons

  • Some smart lightbulbs require a hub.
  • The lightbulb will only respond to your voice or your app IF the wall switch is on. If the wall light switch is turned off, you must use the wall light switch to turn them back on before you can control them with your Alexa or the app.
  • Can be expensive, if you need to replace many light bulbs.

Recommended Brands

Bottom Line

Great for people who want control of the colour and intensity of their lights.

2. Smart outlets

Pros

  • Very simple to setup; you simply plug the outlet into your wall socket and then you plug your lamp (or other device) into the outlet.
  • This will work well for lights with a plug (i.e. table light, desk lamp, etc.)

Cons

  • This will not work for lights that are hard wired into you home (i.e. you control them with a wall switch)
  • You cannot change the colour of the light.

Recommended Brands

Bottom line

Great for people with floor lamps, desk lamps with plugs, and do not care about changing the colour of their lights.

3. Smart light wall switches

Pros

  • This option gives you the most control of your lights – you can control your lights through your app, Alexa, or the switch itself at ALL times. This is because there is always power going to the switch (as long as you have a neutral wire in the electrical box of the switch)
  • Less expensive if the switch controls a large bank of ceiling or wall lights (i.e. you only need to change one switch instead of multiple light bulbs).

Cons

  • This requires some electrical work. If you do not know what you are doing make sure to ask someone who does, or hire an electrician.
  • You need a neutral wire. You can check this by turning off your power and then looking inside the wall electrical box – you should see a white “extra” wire.
  • You cannot change the colour of the light.

Recommended Brand

Bottom line

Best for people who want to have the most control of their lighting, and are comfortable doing some simple electrical work.

What do I think of using Alexa for Smart Home lighting?

When I first installed the smart lighting, I wasn’t sure how much I would use it. Now that I have it, I love it!

I have discovered some really great use-case scenarios. I have two levels in my home and it’s nice at the end of the day when I’m going up to bed upstairs to just say “Alexa, lights off” and all the downstairs lights just shut off together. I don’t have to worry about running around to check if any lights are still on.

It is really great when I am coming to home and my hands are full. Sometime I’m hauling hockey equipment behind me for my kids and I’ve got a bag on my shoulder and we can just say “Alexa, entrance hall light on” or “Alexa, family room light on” and it just gets done.

I’m very happy with the product that I’ve got, I do not hesitate to recommend them at all and hopefully you will enjoy using your Alexa-controlled smart lighting as well!

List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
<![CDATA[Interactive Stories with Katie Ernst #16]]> Tue, 06 Mar 2018 08:00:00 GMT 24:01 5a98e8d19926abc223b4ef64 no full 1 16 In this episode, Teri welcomes Katie Ernst, co-founder of Select a Story, to talk about voice first interactive stories and the release of her Amazon Alexa skill in Canada.


Welcome Katie Ernst!

Katie Ernst is a lawyer, author, and co-founder of Select a Story, one of the leading companies that produces interactive stories for the voice-first platforms. I was really excited to have her as a guest recently to hear about her perspectives of this growing sector of Alexa skills.

We also had a special surprise cameo appearance by a 9 year old girl, who is a fan of Select a Story…. and may or may not be my daughter (just saying’)!


Katie’s Story

Katie is an author, who has written 10 “traditional” novels for children. Katie’s introduction to interactive stories began when she first got an Amazon echo, and after trying “The Magic Door” skill, she was inspired and she decided that she had the perfect skill set to start writing interactive stories of her own. While Katie began writing her first interactive story, Cinder/Charming, her husband began the software development. They make a great team and co-founded Select a Story!


Some of Katie’s perspectives on Interactive Stories

Katie believes that there is something magical about being able to talk to a device, similar to “Computer” from Star Trek.


In her experience, Katie finds it challenging to self-publish traditional books for middle school grades as this age-group tends to have less e-reader devices then older kids. The voice-first revolution makes is easier for authors to self-publish books for middle grades because these stories are more easily accessible by children via their household smart speakers.


Katie’s first interactive story is called Cinder/Charming, a 30,000 word, voice-first publication, equivalent to approximately 120-130 pages. This story has 130 different scenes, all completely narrated with sounds effects. The listener makes decisions about the plot as the story progresses, similar to the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books that I remember reading as a child. Katie has plans to expand the catalogue of stories that can be accessed through the Select a Story skill.


Select a Story Skill

Select a Story is a great skill and you can check-out my review here. I suggest you check out the skill too!


List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
In this episode, Teri welcomes Katie Ernst, co-founder of Select a Story, to talk about voice first interactive stories and the release of her Amazon Alexa skill in Canada.


Welcome Katie Ernst!

Katie Ernst is a lawyer, author, and co-founder of Select a Story, one of the leading companies that produces interactive stories for the voice-first platforms. I was really excited to have her as a guest recently to hear about her perspectives of this growing sector of Alexa skills.

We also had a special surprise cameo appearance by a 9 year old girl, who is a fan of Select a Story…. and may or may not be my daughter (just saying’)!


Katie’s Story

Katie is an author, who has written 10 “traditional” novels for children. Katie’s introduction to interactive stories began when she first got an Amazon echo, and after trying “The Magic Door” skill, she was inspired and she decided that she had the perfect skill set to start writing interactive stories of her own. While Katie began writing her first interactive story, Cinder/Charming, her husband began the software development. They make a great team and co-founded Select a Story!


Some of Katie’s perspectives on Interactive Stories

Katie believes that there is something magical about being able to talk to a device, similar to “Computer” from Star Trek.


In her experience, Katie finds it challenging to self-publish traditional books for middle school grades as this age-group tends to have less e-reader devices then older kids. The voice-first revolution makes is easier for authors to self-publish books for middle grades because these stories are more easily accessible by children via their household smart speakers.


Katie’s first interactive story is called Cinder/Charming, a 30,000 word, voice-first publication, equivalent to approximately 120-130 pages. This story has 130 different scenes, all completely narrated with sounds effects. The listener makes decisions about the plot as the story progresses, similar to the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books that I remember reading as a child. Katie has plans to expand the catalogue of stories that can be accessed through the Select a Story skill.


Select a Story Skill

Select a Story is a great skill and you can check-out my review here. I suggest you check out the skill too!


List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
<![CDATA[An Alexa Experience with Dave Jackson #15]]> Tue, 27 Feb 2018 08:00:00 GMT 25:05 5a87c44aa80d26f15fe6290a no full 1 15 Welcome Dave Jackson!

Dave Jackson has been teaching about technology for decades and has been podcasting since 2005. He launched the Alexacast in 2016 to document his journey as a consumer of the Alexa technology. I was really excited to have him as a guest on the podcast to hear about his experiences about living with Alexa in America.


The Alexacast

The Alexacast podcast was started as a way for Dave to document his journey as an Alexa user. He calls this type of podcast a "journey podcast", one in which the listener comes along for the ride while the host describes his experience while learning about a particular topic - in this case, Alexa. This is a topic that excited Dave and when he found out he could make shopping lists though Alexa, that "sucked him in"!


Some of Dave's Thoughts on Alexa

Initially Dave used Alexa to control smart lights in his home. He then expanded this to control smart plugs and he enjoys using these smart home automation features.

He enjoys using Alexa to create to-do lists and has paired the Todoist app to Alexa to have greater control of his lists.

He likes using Alexa to control his music through Spotify and Pandora.

He enjoys using Flash Briefings to stay up to date on Alexa features.

He finds that the timers are very useful, particularly around the kitchen.

One of his favourite skills is the Seven Minute Workout, which he has paired to his FitBit.


Thanks Dave!

Thank you Dave for joining us on the podcast and sharing some of your experiences and perspectives as a consumer of Alexa!


List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
Welcome Dave Jackson!

Dave Jackson has been teaching about technology for decades and has been podcasting since 2005. He launched the Alexacast in 2016 to document his journey as a consumer of the Alexa technology. I was really excited to have him as a guest on the podcast to hear about his experiences about living with Alexa in America.


The Alexacast

The Alexacast podcast was started as a way for Dave to document his journey as an Alexa user. He calls this type of podcast a "journey podcast", one in which the listener comes along for the ride while the host describes his experience while learning about a particular topic - in this case, Alexa. This is a topic that excited Dave and when he found out he could make shopping lists though Alexa, that "sucked him in"!


Some of Dave's Thoughts on Alexa

Initially Dave used Alexa to control smart lights in his home. He then expanded this to control smart plugs and he enjoys using these smart home automation features.

He enjoys using Alexa to create to-do lists and has paired the Todoist app to Alexa to have greater control of his lists.

He likes using Alexa to control his music through Spotify and Pandora.

He enjoys using Flash Briefings to stay up to date on Alexa features.

He finds that the timers are very useful, particularly around the kitchen.

One of his favourite skills is the Seven Minute Workout, which he has paired to his FitBit.


Thanks Dave!

Thank you Dave for joining us on the podcast and sharing some of your experiences and perspectives as a consumer of Alexa!


List of resources mentioned in this episode:


]]>
<![CDATA[Flash Briefing Launch with Simon Marcus #14]]> Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:00:00 GMT 20:30 5a82684fc1ca6ecd4ea34aa9 no full 1 14 In this special episode, Teri announces the Voice in Canada Flash Briefing launch and invites Simon Marcus, CEO of Pippa.io, to discuss his company and the service used to host the Voice in Canada flash briefing.




Voice in Canada Flash Briefing Launch!

I am really excited to launch the Voice in Canada Flash Briefing! I wanted to create something on the Amazon Alexa platform that would be valuable to the the Alexa in Canada community and creating a flash briefing seemed like the perfect idea. The flash briefing is designed to be a series of daily short episodes, discussing tips and tricks, commands, skills, reviews, news, and deals.


To thank you for being an early supporter of the flash briefing launch, I will be giving away a free Amazon Echo Dot to one lucky listener. Make sure to scroll to the bottom to see how you can enter to win the Echo Dot!




Benefits of Flash Briefings

Benefits for the Listeners

  • Very easy to listen to.
  • Almost no friction to listening.
  • Can multitask while consuming audio content.
  • Can discover and learn about new topics very easily.

Benefits for the Producers

  • Huge opportunity for Producers - there only approximately 200 flash briefings currently in Canada.
  • Can discuss your passion/hobbies.
  • Can serve your audience and promote your business.




Welcome Simon Marcus!

Simon Marcus is the CEO of Pippa.io, the podcast and flash briefing hosting service that I use to host my Alexa in Canada podcast and Voice in Canada flash briefing. Pippa.io has made it very easy to setup my flash briefing, particularly because there is no coding or programming required. Simon joins me on the podcast to discuss his service and how he and his team developed the flash briefing feature.




List of resources mentioned in this episode:




Contest!

Win a Brand New Echo Dot!

Thank you so much for being here and listening to my very first flash briefing episodes. To express my appreciation I am holding a contest to award one of you awesome early listeners with a brand new Echo Dot!

To enter the contest, follow these 3 simple steps:

1. Leave an honest review of the flash briefing through your Alexa app or on the Amazon Skills store by clicking HERE!

2. Take a screenshot of your review BEFORE you submit it. Once you have your screenshot, submit the review.

3. Post the screenshot to your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook account with these 3 hashtags:

  • #amazonecho
  • #amazonalexa
  • #voiceincanada

BONUS: Get an extra entry for every extra social media channel that you post your screenshot to with those hashtags!

I will choose one lucky winner at random on March 5th and I will announce the winner on the Alexa in Canada social media channels and notify the winner through his/her social media account!



The Fine Print

Contest is open for 2 weeks, from February 19, 2018, until 11:59pm on March 4, 2018.
There will be one winner for this contest. Winner will be selected at random (using the Alexa random number generator command!!) and posted on the Alexa in Canada Social media channels, and announced on the Voice in Canada Flash Briefing, on March 6, 2018.
Open to Canadian and US residents 21 years or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by Canadian or US law.
Winner will have to answer a skill testing question.
Contest is not associated in any way with Amazon.com Inc. Alexa in Canada and Voice in Canada are independent publications and have not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Amazon.com, Inc.
Winner will receive one Echo Dot (approx retail value $69.99 CDN).






]]>
In this special episode, Teri announces the Voice in Canada Flash Briefing launch and invites Simon Marcus, CEO of Pippa.io, to discuss his company and the service used to host the Voice in Canada flash briefing.




Voice in Canada Flash Briefing Launch!

I am really excited to launch the Voice in Canada Flash Briefing! I wanted to create something on the Amazon Alexa platform that would be valuable to the the Alexa in Canada community and creating a flash briefing seemed like the perfect idea. The flash briefing is designed to be a series of daily short episodes, discussing tips and tricks, commands, skills, reviews, news, and deals.


To thank you for being an early supporter of the flash briefing launch, I will be giving away a free Amazon Echo Dot to one lucky listener. Make sure to scroll to the bottom to see how you can enter to win the Echo Dot!




Benefits of Flash Briefings

Benefits for the Listeners

  • Very easy to listen to.
  • Almost no friction to listening.
  • Can multitask while consuming audio content.
  • Can discover and learn about new topics very easily.

Benefits for the Producers

  • Huge opportunity for Producers - there only approximately 200 flash briefings currently in Canada.
  • Can discuss your passion/hobbies.
  • Can serve your audience and promote your business.




Welcome Simon Marcus!

Simon Marcus is the CEO of Pippa.io, the podcast and flash briefing hosting service that I use to host my Alexa in Canada podcast and Voice in Canada flash briefing. Pippa.io has made it very easy to setup my flash briefing, particularly because there is no coding or programming required. Simon joins me on the podcast to discuss his service and how he and his team developed the flash briefing feature.




List of resources mentioned in this episode:




Contest!

Win a Brand New Echo Dot!

Thank you so much for being here and listening to my very first flash briefing episodes. To express my appreciation I am holding a contest to award one of you awesome early listeners with a brand new Echo Dot!

To enter the contest, follow these 3 simple steps:

1. Leave an honest review of the flash briefing through your Alexa app or on the Amazon Skills store by clicking HERE!

2. Take a screenshot of your review BEFORE you submit it. Once you have your screenshot, submit the review.

3. Post the screenshot to your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook account with these 3 hashtags:

  • #amazonecho
  • #amazonalexa
  • #voiceincanada

BONUS: Get an extra entry for every extra social media channel that you post your screenshot to with those hashtags!

I will choose one lucky winner at random on March 5th and I will announce the winner on the Alexa in Canada social media channels and notify the winner through his/her social media account!



The Fine Print

Contest is open for 2 weeks, from February 19, 2018, until 11:59pm on March 4, 2018.
There will be one winner for this contest. Winner will be selected at random (using the Alexa random number generator command!!) and posted on the Alexa in Canada Social media channels, and announced on the Voice in Canada Flash Briefing, on March 6, 2018.
Open to Canadian and US residents 21 years or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by Canadian or US law.
Winner will have to answer a skill testing question.
Contest is not associated in any way with Amazon.com Inc. Alexa in Canada and Voice in Canada are independent publications and have not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Amazon.com, Inc.
Winner will receive one Echo Dot (approx retail value $69.99 CDN).






]]>
<![CDATA[Voice First with Bradley Metrock #13]]> Tue, 13 Feb 2018 08:05:00 GMT 42:45 5a769689b04882870e993ed9 no full 1 13 Bradley Metrock, the CEO of Score Publishing and a leader in the voice technology space, joins Teri to recap this year's Alexa Conference and to discuss the VoiceFirst.FM podcast network. Teri also makes 2 very special announcements!


http://AlexaInCanada.ca/13

]]>
Bradley Metrock, the CEO of Score Publishing and a leader in the voice technology space, joins Teri to recap this year's Alexa Conference and to discuss the VoiceFirst.FM podcast network. Teri also makes 2 very special announcements!


http://AlexaInCanada.ca/13

]]>
<![CDATA[Basic Smart Home Automation with Jesus Gallardo #12]]> Tue, 06 Feb 2018 08:05:00 GMT 27:13 5a6e5d540ef9fdbe776cf6ee no full 1 12 <![CDATA[How to Setup Multiple Echo Devices #11]]> Tue, 30 Jan 2018 08:05:00 GMT 17:33 5a6b384e3fe5f2902b8f1956 no full 1 11 In this episode, Teri discusses how to add a second Echo device to your home. He covers how to setup additional Alexa devices, the Drop-In feature, how to group devices and how to use your phone to communicate with Echo devices. 


http://AlexaInCanada.ca/11

]]>
In this episode, Teri discusses how to add a second Echo device to your home. He covers how to setup additional Alexa devices, the Drop-In feature, how to group devices and how to use your phone to communicate with Echo devices. 


http://AlexaInCanada.ca/11

]]>
<![CDATA[Voice Trends in Canada with Brian Jackson #10]]> Tue, 23 Jan 2018 08:05:00 GMT 29:55 5a617b4e27e6ed7870065455 no full 1 10 In this episode, Teri welcomes Brian Jackson, editorial director of IT World Canada, to talk about the voice trends of digital assistants in Canada (Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant) and the latest news coming out of CES 2018.


http://AlexaInCanada.ca/10

]]>
In this episode, Teri welcomes Brian Jackson, editorial director of IT World Canada, to talk about the voice trends of digital assistants in Canada (Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant) and the latest news coming out of CES 2018.


http://AlexaInCanada.ca/10

]]>
<![CDATA[Alexa Voice is the Interface of the Future #9]]> Tue, 16 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT 18:40 5a4f04587d37c637627b48ab no full 1 9 In this episode, Teri talks about how Alexa Voice technology is the way of the future for interacting with all smart devices. He also discusses a way to try Alexa on your smart phone without any Echo devices. Finally, he discusses Cleo, a skill that Alexa is using to learn languages.


http://AlexaInCanada.ca/9

]]>
In this episode, Teri talks about how Alexa Voice technology is the way of the future for interacting with all smart devices. He also discusses a way to try Alexa on your smart phone without any Echo devices. Finally, he discusses Cleo, a skill that Alexa is using to learn languages.


http://AlexaInCanada.ca/9

]]>
<![CDATA[Alexa in the United States with William Nutt #8]]> Tue, 09 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT 30:02 5a4d1ab34d903aa2133178ca no full 1 8 In this episode, Teri talks with a counterpart, William Nutt, about the pattern of Alexa use in the United States and how this parallels with the uptake of the Canadian use of Alexa and Echo devices.


http://AlexaInCanada.ca/8

]]>
In this episode, Teri talks with a counterpart, William Nutt, about the pattern of Alexa use in the United States and how this parallels with the uptake of the Canadian use of Alexa and Echo devices.


http://AlexaInCanada.ca/8

]]>
<![CDATA[Alexa Update for the New Year #7]]> Tue, 02 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT 16:31 5a49d1ef95dfbf9d13d4dd72 no full 1 7 In this episode, Teri talks about the milestones achieve by Amazon.ca and Alexa in Canada over the past month and explores where Alexa is going in 2018. Buckle up because it's going to be a wild ride!


http://alexaincanada.ca/7

]]>
In this episode, Teri talks about the milestones achieve by Amazon.ca and Alexa in Canada over the past month and explores where Alexa is going in 2018. Buckle up because it's going to be a wild ride!


http://alexaincanada.ca/7

]]>
<![CDATA[Alexa Routines and Flash Briefings #6]]> Tue, 26 Dec 2017 08:00:00 GMT 18:04 no Teri talks about the basic Alexa routines and flash briefings, and how they can make you even more efficient with your Echo device. As a bonus, he reveals some of the holiday commands/skills for you to try.

http://alexaincanada.ca/6

]]>
Teri talks about the basic Alexa routines and flash briefings, and how they can make you even more efficient with your Echo device. As a bonus, he reveals some of the holiday commands/skills for you to try.

http://alexaincanada.ca/6

]]>
<![CDATA[Basic Alexa/Echo Commands #5]]> Tue, 19 Dec 2017 08:00:00 GMT 19:06 no In this 5th episode, Teri talks about the basic Commands that Amazon Alexa can understand right out of the box! She has hundreds if not thousands of commands that she understands, and in this episode, we cover all the basics. 

http://AlexaInCanada.ca/5

http://AlexaInCanada.ca/commands

 

]]>
In this 5th episode, Teri talks about the basic Commands that Amazon Alexa can understand right out of the box! She has hundreds if not thousands of commands that she understands, and in this episode, we cover all the basics. 

http://AlexaInCanada.ca/5

http://AlexaInCanada.ca/commands

 

]]>
<![CDATA[How to Setup Alexa in Canada #4]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:00:00 GMT 29:59 no In this episode, Teri talks about his first impressions of his Echo Dot, describes how to setup Alexa in Canada, and introduces a Canadian radio skill.

Subscribe for more info!

http://AlexaInCanada.ca/4

]]>
In this episode, Teri talks about his first impressions of his Echo Dot, describes how to setup Alexa in Canada, and introduces a Canadian radio skill.

Subscribe for more info!

http://AlexaInCanada.ca/4

]]>
<![CDATA[How Does Alexa Work? #3]]> Thu, 30 Nov 2017 20:00:00 GMT 13:07 no <![CDATA[Amazon Echo Devices in Canada. #2]]> Thu, 30 Nov 2017 03:24:14 GMT 18:26 no <![CDATA[Welcome to Alexa in Canada! #1]]> Mon, 27 Nov 2017 05:00:02 GMT 13:05 no