Alexa just became a tad more tot-friendly. Amazon today announced the Baby Activity Skill API, a new API that enables developers to build third-party apps that help customers keep track of baby activities — for example, like logging the time of diaper changes. It’s available in the U.S. starting today.
“Consistency is critical for customers who are looking to log their baby-related activities,” June Lee, a data engineer at Amazon, wrote in a blog post. “However, it isn’t always easy for parents and caregivers to log consistently and in a timely manner — they may be tired from barely sleeping the night before, or their hands may be tied up with the latest mess. With the Baby Activity Skill API, [developers] can build Alexa skills and that enable … customers to easily log and query activity information using just their voice.”
The Baby Activity Skill API includes a set of interfaces — Weight, Sleep, DiaperChange, and InfantFeeding currently, with more due out in the near future — designed to make the baby activity skill-building process easier than before. Those interfaces describe messages that can be used to develop Alexa skills for apps and devices, and offer data management, timer directives, and query directives for adding baby activities, timing sessions, and asking questions about activities.
Alexa skills that take advantage can recognize utterances like:
- User: Alexa, Jane woke up from a 3-hour nap.
- User: Alexa, log a bottle feeding of 6 ounces for Jane.
- User: Alexa, when was the last diaper change?
- User: Alexa, what was Jane’s average weight last month?
Some of the first developers to tap the Baby Activity Skill API are Hatch Baby and Wildflower Health, which added interfaces to their pregnancy and early childhood apps. (Not-so-coincidentally, Hatch Baby announced today that it’s taking investment from Amazon;s Alexa Fund.) Baby Connect — another early adopter — says the Baby Activity Skill API led to “an increase in engagement from the parents” who use its Baby Activity skill.
“Voice is a powerful tool that increases the accessibility of your service,” Lee said. “It can help increase consistent input and make your service more valuable, increasing usage and retention … We are excited for [developers] to leverage the power of voice to further increase the value of your services for your customers.”
Alexa might be becoming more baby-friendly, but it’s already pretty kid-friendly.
In April, Amazon released the Echo Dot for Kids, an $80 Echo Dot wrapped in a padded foam enclosure that comes with a two-year damage replacement warranty and one year of FreeTime Unlimited. FreeTime for Alexa — which starts at $2.99 for Prime members and $4.99 per month for one child or $9.99 per month for a family plan for non-Prime members — allows parents to review their kids’ activity, put time limits on their usage, or block songs with explicit lyrics on Amazon Music. Moreover, it brings exclusive features to the table, such as ad-free radio or playlists, alarms from Disney and Nickelodeon characters, and premium skills from National Geographic, Nickelodeon, and others.
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