Wednesday, 06 June 2018 15:06

VIDEO: Vivid Sydney the first major Australia event to get Amazon Alexa skill

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Destination NSW has teamed up with Amazon to bring Alexa, the company’s rapidly growing voice service, to the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney.

As anyone reading this article should already know, Amazon Alexa offers people "the convenience of being able to control their smart home devices with a simple question, set timers and ask for information when their hands are busy, listen to the news in the morning as they get ready for work and so much more".

You probably also know that an Alexa Skill is a range of "capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to create a more personalised experience", such as turning Alexa-enabled appliances on or off, checking your Amaysim credit balance, seeing if your NAB bank account has been paid yet, and in the US at least, there are over 30,000 Skills available, with about 5000 new skills added, on average, every 100 days.

Now comes yet another, the Vivid Sydney Skill, developed by Voice Development Agency, Proxima, allowing Australians who own Alexa devices to get started by simply saying “Alexa, open Vivid Sydney”.

You can then say “Alexa, ask Vivid Sydney…” things like: 

  • When do the lights start?
  • What's on in the city this weekend?
  • What light events are on in Chatswood?
  • What music events are on tomorrow?

Here's the Vivid Sydney Alexa Skill video – the article continues thereafter, please read on!

As you might have expected, the NSW Tourism and Major Events Minister Adam Marshall proudly boasted that the NSW Government agency, Destination NSW, was "the first state tourism organisation to utilise this technology for a major event".

Marshall added: “This relationship with Amazon proves yet again that Vivid Sydney is at the forefront of creativity and innovation, with Alexa to make information on every aspect of the festival, from what’s on to how to get there, more readily available to Amazon Alexa customers across the country.

“Vivid Sydney has a significant digital footprint, with last year’s festival attracting over two million visitors to vividsydney.com, over 650,000 social media followers and more than 59,000 downloads of the Vivid Sydney app. We are delighted to be teaming up with Amazon to once again push the boundaries of cutting edge technology.”

Amazon Alexa Skills country manager Kate Burleigh, formerly the managing director of Intel Australia for many years, said: “Developers are pioneers in voice and Alexa is the service of choice for them when building engaging voice-first experiences for customers.

"Amazon is already working with a multitude of local developers in Australia, with a number of locally developed skills just like Vivid Sydney introduced to our customers each week.

“We are thrilled with the launch of the Vivid Sydney Skill, as this is exactly the kind of dynamic, voice-first experience Alexa was designed for. Now I can simply ask, ‘Alexa, ask Vivid Sydney what events are on today?’ and start planning my visit.

“I’d like to congratulate Destination NSW for being the first to launch a major event skill for the Alexa voice service in Australia.”

The Vivid Sydney Skill is now available in the Alexa Skills Store for people throughout Australia who have a device with Amazon Alexa, with more detail on how to use Amazon Alexa to "enhance your Vivid Sydney experience" here

You can also find what is termed to be a "comprehensive list of Alexa Skills" at this site, although whether they all work in Australia is something you'll have to find out for yourself.

Here's how to get started with the Vivid Sydney Alexa Skill:

You can activate the skill in two ways. By voice, or via the Alexa app. Here’s a step by step guide for both:

Open the Alexa mobile app or visit alexa.amazon.com.au on your desktop. (make sure you are logged in)

Enable the Vivid Sydney Alexa Skill. The skill will now instantly be available on your connected Amazon Echo device(s).

You can then ask the questions listed above.

The Vivid Sydney Skill is supported in Amazon’s Australia/New Zealand region, and is "available on all Alexa enabled devices available in Amazon’s Australian/New Zealand region".

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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