Amazon Echo and Alexa are increasingly joining users in the kitchen. Now you can build skills to enable customers in the US to control their microwave ovens using Alexa. Support for other cooking devices, such as conventional ovens, is coming soon. Cooking capabilities will also be available in other countries shortly, according to a bog post.
There are four new capability interfaces in the Smart Home Skill API – Alexa.Cooking, Alexa.Cooking.TimeController, Alexa.TimeHoldController, and Alexa.Cooking.PresetController. You can utilise these interfaces today for microwaves and for appliances that support preset cooking. The interfaces are designed for future extensibility as support for more cooking devices becomes available.
Mike Maas of Amazon says: “Customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces (VUIs) as a hands-free way to manage their lives, and hands-free control is especially valuable when cooking. With the built-in cooking device controls in the Smart Home Skill API, you will make it easier for your customers to control your cloud-connected microwave. Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices. For example, a customer can say ‘Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken’ or ‘Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high.’”
It makes sense to develop the Amazon Echo and Alexa as a culinary helper as Amazon increasingly looks to groceries for growth, including its purchase of high-end grocery chain WholeFoods.