Amazon is broadening the use cases for Alexa in the Connected Home by offering skills for kids aged 5-12. An initial set of learning and entertainment skills goes live on August 31, bringing interactive content and games, featuring iconic characters such as SpongeBob and Sesame Street’ Elmo. A set of kids’ short stories is delivered as bedtime stories through Amazon’s Audible business: “Alexa, read me a bedtime story”. Parental permission must be obtained before the first use. Third party content developers have access to the system via ASK (Alexa Skills Kit).
By offering Kids’ Skills, Amazon is creating a new use case, in addition to e-commerce, entertainment and news briefings. It aims at deeper engagement across multiple family members and across multiple rooms in the Connected Home. The recent announcement of a multi-room feature (where a single audio stream can be broadcast across a group of Alexa devices) speaks to this strategy.
Technical challenges notwithstanding (recognition of children’s voices, ability to sustain extended “threaded” interactions,…) these Kids’ Skills will draw a new demographic to the Amazon ecosystem and drive additional e-commerce opportunities for content as well as merchandising. Most importantly, it could accelerate making voice and natural language interactions mainstream and intuitive.
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