FAQ – Voice Assistant & Healthcare

The TheVoiceMarketer team has over 15 years of experience in digital media marketing, SEO, websites, media strategy and analysis. We have gained expertise related to user experience design, programming and Voice User Interface (VUI), which is a necessity for the new generation of Voice Assistant Skills. We are more than just a tech-only company. We fully understand media, media strategy and the different interacting relationships which you need for voice control and Voice Assistant strategies. You can also benefit from TheVoiceMarketer’s media tech experience. We don’t just develop a Skill… we develop a great experience.

Simply put: an App for smartphones/tablets is a Skill for Voice Assistants. Just like we have diversity in the app world (e.g. apps for Android or apps for Apple Store), there are also Skills for Alexa and Actions for Google Smart Assistants. By using the Skills you can equip your Amazon Echo device with further features and capabilities. The functionalities of Alexa can be expanded by Skills and used for smart speakers, telephones, cars, televisions, headphones, wristwatches and other devices.  As an Alexa Skill developer, we can use Skills to easily create and manage engaging and effective conversation experiences between users and your Skill.

Actions extend the functionality of the Google Assistant, the virtual personal assistant from Google. The Alexa feature is called a Skill and the one from Google one is called an Action. The functionality of Google Assistant can be expanded through Google Actions and is used for smart speakers, telephones, cars, TVs, headphones, wristwatches and other devices.

Users engage Google Assistant for conversations to get things done, for instance, to buy groceries or book a trip. As a Google Actions developer, we can use Actions to easily create and manage engaging and effective conversation experiences between users and your Actions.

Yes, currently, you have to create and program the Skills or Actions separately for each language assistant.

You don’t have to have a Skill. However, the opportunity should not be ignored.  If you do not serve certain target groups via Alexa Skills, the target group may then use a competitor’s Skill. The decision is whether you want to use the Voice Assistant Skill as a “touchpoint” or “point of information”, maybe ahead of your competitors.

It depends on what you want and which information the target group should know about the brand/ product/service. Alexa is able to give the user various information even without a Skill. Alexa can for example, providing opening times or weather forecasts and more. On the other hand Alexa cannot currently always provide information about brand, product, service and scope.

This question is much like “what does a car cost?” or “what does a mobile app cost?”. The answer is usually “it depends on what you want”. However, we would like to help you to understand the topic holistically and therefore we can say as a rough guide that the costs are from 5,000 euros onwards. A cheaper, and sometimes even more expensive Skill is possible at any time. Feel free to contact us and tell us what you are looking to accomplish, and we will give you a rough order of cost. Questions don’t cost you anything :-).

As with any software application, there are many different ways to develop an Alexa Skill. It depends on understanding your existing technology stack, and then how an Alexa Skill can be integrated into the different data sources. The easiest and fastest way to create an Alexa Skill is to host it on Amazon AWS, use AWS Lamba (a serverless computing platform) and then use the Lambda function in C, Java, Javascript (Node.JS) or to create python code.

Yes, you can update and change Skills. Depending on the changes and updates, a Skill must usually be recertified by Amazon (just like the app store approval process). Experience has shown that it currently only takes a few days and not weeks or months.

Of course, we can also develop Alexa Skills for other countries. We have already developed Skills for Germany, France, U.K., India, Australia, Canada and the USA.

Amazon has its own privacy policy for Alexa. You will also need your own data protection declaration for your Alexa Skills. We are happy to help you out with the help of our data protection partner companies.

Our strength is that we are not a tech-only company but rather a media-tech company. We think in terms of media structures, can focus on particular target groups, touchpoints, user behaviours, and more,  and can support you with Alexa Skills by developing ideas and concepts.

We are currently looking at it specifically from the SEO, voice search optimization, Voice Assistant and smart speaker perspective. The more advanced the development of Voice Assistants, the more integrated use and networking of devices, touchpoints and media communication we will see. With the growth of the IoT (Internet of Things), SmartFridges, SmartCars, and many other hardware and software combinations, the future will be different.

Amazon offers the “Skills Metrics Dashboard” as part of the Alexa Skills Kit. Via this dashboard, we can see data about your Skill, about customers, meetings, statements and intentions. There are also some new third-party analytics tools (including Smartly.ai and Voice Insights) that offer different insights. These tools are chargeable and may have other requirements and complexities.

Yes, an Alexa Skill can also be deactivated and deleted.

Alexa is Amazon’s digital Voice Assistant. Alexa can be used on smartphones and Amazon’s Echo product line. In the meantime, there are also various “third-party” devices and products in which the Alexa Voice Assistant is integrated. The word “Alexa” was chosen because the “X” is easier to recognize for speech recognition and the word is also a homage to the famous old library of Alexandria.

The technical details of Alexa are complex, but Thevoicemarketer.health will make it easy and understandable for you.

After activation (see “Setup” below), the service is started by simply saying “Alexa”. Then Alexa seeks (or tries) to interpret what you’re saying. At the end of your question/command, Alexa sends this recording over the Internet to the Alexa cloud servers on which the AVS (Alexa Voice Service) is installed.

The AVS then converts your voice signals into computer voice commands that can be used to carry out a task (e.g. search for a requested service or product) or convert the computer language back into sound signals so that you get the information back in speech form.

If your internet connection is working properly, and Amazon’s back-end service is also working well, the answers can be given very quickly.

For products like the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, the answers are only given in an audio format. With Echo Show and to a limited extent on a smartphone, the information is also provided via screen displays.

With an Alexa-enabled Amazon device, Alexa can also issue commands to other compatible third-party devices, such as lights or heating systems.

Since the cloud-based Alexa Voice Service is required to answer questions and perform tasks, an Internet connection is required – no Internet, no Alexa interaction. This is where the Alexa app comes in.

Alexa was already set up as a standard Voice Assistant on Android phones in May 2018.

Thevoicemarketer.health will be happy to assist you, and give you information about the “Alexa setup for Android devices”. This is how you can use Alexa instead of Google Assistant on Android devices.

Alexa can be used in conjunction with your smartphone or tablet. To do this, you first have to download and install the Alexa app from the Google Play Store.

  • Open it up and sign in to your Amazon account
  • Open Settings on your Android device and then open Apps
  • Tap on “Standard Apps” and select “Assist & voice input”
  • Choose Alexa instead of the Google Assistant

Since June 2018, iPhones or iPads can also be controlled with Alexa. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can now use voice commands to ask Alexa questions, play music, or let your Echo communicate with other devices.

However, since Apple has its own SIRI assistant, you still need to use the Alexa app to enable Alexa. Thevoicemarketer.health will be happy to advise you and provide you with information about “Alexa setup for iOS devices”

  • When you open the Alexa app, two symbols are displayed in the lower line that were not previously available. On the far right is a link to “Settings” with the Alexa symbol
  • To start with Alexa in the app, tap the Alexa icon below. Tap “Allow” to open the prompt to give the Alexa app access to the microphone and location data of your iOS device. The app will then give you some example commands. Tap “Done” to complete the setup
  • When you tap the Alexa button, the Voice Assistant is displayed, and you can carry out voice commands in the same way as with the Alexa speakers in your home

You can speak directly to Alexa via the Android app since January 2018 (update for iOS devices will follow shortly). This means you can ask Alexa questions and have tasks performed without using the Amazon Shopping app, the Alexa Reverb app or an additional Alexa-enabled device. With the updated Alexa App, you are able to control all Alexa-enabled devices.

Thevoicemarketer.health will be happy to help you set up Alexa on an Echo device.

  • If you have an Amazon Echo device, you first have to download and install the Alexa app on a compatible smartphone or tablet
  • Go to the device menu settings of the Alexa app and identify your Amazon Echo device
  • The app will then configure itself with your Echo device. Although you need your smartphone to initially configure Alexa with your Echo device, you don’t need to leave your smartphone switched on afterwards. You can communicate directly with Alexa using the Echo device
  • You may need to use your smartphone to activate or change some of the advanced settings, or to activate new Alexa Skills. However, you usually only need to use your smartphone for the Alexa functions if you are outside the voice range of your Alexa-enabled device, provided you have the Alexa app with Amazon Mobile Shopping or set Alexa Reverb apps installed