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Alexa’s microphone and voice processing technology now available for third-party manufacturers

Alexa’s microphone and voice processing technology now available for third-party manufacturers
Besides Alexa’s voice development kit, Amazon has recently released another Alexa development tool for its hardware partners – its listening skills.

The company announced it is opening up access to the high-performance far-field microphone array and voice processing technology for selected hardware partners. The new move means consumers may see more third-party smart devices embedded with Alexa, instead of Amazon’s Echo or Dot only.

The hardware solution will include, according to Amazon, the 7-microphone array found in Amazon Echo, Amazon’s software for wake word recognition, beamforming, noise reduction and echo cancellation, and reference client software for local device control and communication with Alexa Voice Service.

The availability of this technology will not only make it easier to embed Alexa into hardware devices, but also make it more cost-effective. Third-party manufacturers don’t need to gather spare parts or look for a hacked solution.

“Since the introduction of Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, device makers have been asking us to provide the technology and tools to enable a far-field Alexa experience for their products,” said Priya Abani, Director of Amazon Alexa. “With this new reference solution, developers can design products with the same unique 7-mic circular array, beamforming technology, and voice processing software that have made Amazon Echo so popular with customers.”

The Alexa 7-Mic Far-Field Development Kit will be available to commercial device manufacturers through an invite-only program. Manufacturers can now visit its website and request the invitation.

Amazon started to open up its Alexa development capability back in 2015, starting with its Alexa Skills Kit. Developers can write code that works with Alexa in the cloud and let Amazon’s cloud service do the computing.

The number of Alexa skills has increased dramatically in recent years, growing from 1,000 in June 2016 to 10,000 in February 2017.

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