One of my favorite features of Amazon’s voice controlled speakers, the Echo and Echo Dot, is the Alexa News Flash skill. Out of the box, it plays you a quick news briefing from standard news sources. What you probably didn’t know however was that you can customize your Alexa Flash Briefing with literally thousands of skills, tailored perfectly to the news you want. Here’s how it all works and how to set it up.
The next step in our Alexa flash briefing tutorial is to set up an Alexa skill for delivering the briefing. First, visit the Amazon Developer Console to create a new skill. Begin by giving it a name, then click “next.” You’ll be offered a selection of Alexa skill models to choose from. Select “flash briefing” from the list, then you’ll be met with a series of Alexa flash briefing options.

Alexa Skills can give users access to accounts they've already set-up, such as the Alexa Skill for SiriusXM radio, ESPN, or even their car insurance if they have Alliance Insurance. With Alexa connected to these accounts, people can pull up details and content through their Alexa-enabled device. For example, the Alexa Skill for Major League Baseball lets Alexa users stay current with baseball stats and hear shows. Use the Alexa Skill for Fandango to not just find a movie but buy a ticket. 

Linked with no issues with an Insignia Roku TV. I didn't know the skill existed until i was messing with the settings on the TV and saw the fast start feature and read it. The skill turns the tv on, launches things etc. can't seem to navigate with it as far as on YouTube for example you can't tell it to scroll up or down and highlight etc. you can use volume control.


I suppose it's a reasonable first effort, and I don't know if the abilities missing can be corrected. The skill allows you to "launch" some channels (Direct TV, PBS, Amazon Prime) but not others (Tubi, Filmrise, The Roku Channel). Once a channel is launched, I couldn't find a way to navigate within the channel so it was back to the remote. While viewing DirectTV, for example, when I asked to watch "ABC", or view the guide, Alexa was stumped.
The flash briefing skill submission process provides the steps to submit descriptive information about your skill and configure one or more feeds for each skill. You can then test your skill in your Alexa-enabled device and provide additional information about how you handle customer data and privacy. Once you've provided this information, you can submit your flash briefing skill for certification and use by customers.

I suppose it's a reasonable first effort, and I don't know if the abilities missing can be corrected. The skill allows you to "launch" some channels (Direct TV, PBS, Amazon Prime) but not others (Tubi, Filmrise, The Roku Channel). Once a channel is launched, I couldn't find a way to navigate within the channel so it was back to the remote. While viewing DirectTV, for example, when I asked to watch "ABC", or view the guide, Alexa was stumped.
As of this writing, Amazon has thousands of sources for flash briefings.  The sources they include can be hyper-local like your local news station. Amazon also has specific topics like tech or business, or general info.  Many of these sources, like NPR, are podcasts provided by Tune-In.  These briefings are audio files Alexa plays for you.  Other sources like the AP news stories are read in Alexa’s voice.  I wish Amazon told you which ones were audio files because her voice drones on after a while.  I hope I get to change her voice like I can with Siri.  Right now, you can just change the language to the English (UK) or German.
Alexa Skills can give users access to accounts they've already set-up, such as the Alexa Skill for SiriusXM radio, ESPN, or even their car insurance if they have Alliance Insurance. With Alexa connected to these accounts, people can pull up details and content through their Alexa-enabled device. For example, the Alexa Skill for Major League Baseball lets Alexa users stay current with baseball stats and hear shows. Use the Alexa Skill for Fandango to not just find a movie but buy a ticket.
I suppose it's a reasonable first effort, and I don't know if the abilities missing can be corrected. The skill allows you to "launch" some channels (Direct TV, PBS, Amazon Prime) but not others (Tubi, Filmrise, The Roku Channel). Once a channel is launched, I couldn't find a way to navigate within the channel so it was back to the remote. While viewing DirectTV, for example, when I asked to watch "ABC", or view the guide, Alexa was stumped.
Warner Brothers created a choose-your-own-adventure game for Alexa called The Wayne Investigation, wherein you investigate the death of Bruce Wayne's parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. Start the game by saying, "Alexa, open The Wayne Investigation" and follow the prompts. Each choice you make affects the outcome of the story. This is one of the best examples of a game style that suits Alexa perfectly.
If you have an audience that cares about what you and you have content that you would like to share with that audience, Alexa Flash Briefing is an ideal way to engage with that audience. Whether you are posting your Flash Briefing hourly, daily, weekly, biweekly, or some other frequency, enabling your audience to add your content to their Flash Briefing is an easy way to become part of someone’s routine. Examples of Alexa Flash Briefing content would be updates from experts (health news, stock tips, political campaign news). See below for a more extensive list of examples. But the sky is the limit. If you have something to say and you have people who would love to hear from you, and hear your speak the content in your voice, Flash Briefing is ideal.
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Amazon Alexa is based in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud. A developer can upload Alexa skill code to AWS Lambda functions to execute code that is triggered by voice interactions. AWS automatically manages the compute resources for Lambda. A developer can certify, publish and update skills, which are made available through the Alexa Skills Store.
One of my favorite features of Amazon’s voice controlled speakers, the Echo and Echo Dot, is the Alexa News Flash skill. Out of the box, it plays you a quick news briefing from standard news sources. What you probably didn’t know however was that you can customize your Alexa Flash Briefing with literally thousands of skills, tailored perfectly to the news you want. Here’s how it all works and how to set it up.
Because Amazon opened up the development of Alexa Skills to anyone with the free Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) in 2015, anyone can create an Alexa Skill. As Alexa uses Natural Language Programing (NLP), those looking to build a skill don't need to worry about complex speech recognition. The ASK tools also makes it easier for novices to work with sophisticated NLP ideas.
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