Alexa Treats New Blink Roadside Assistance Skill Like a Native Feature
Drivers with car trouble don’t need to have heard of the new Blink Roadside Alexa Skill to start using it. Amazon has given the new skill top-level intents so that simply telling the voice assistant you’re out of gas or have a flat tire will enable the skill and begin the setup process. The third-party skill is given preference similar to a native Alexa feature, a huge boon for Agero, the developer behind Blink, as it expands from mobile apps to voice assistants.
Blink Roadside’s connection with Alexa means the voice assistant will enable the skill when a driver asks the voice assistant for help with their car or just states what the problem is. “Alexa my car battery died” or “Alexa my gas tank is empty,” evokes a response of “Here’s the skill Blink Roadside by Agero” from the voice assistant followed by a check that you’re in a safe location. The skill then connects to Agero’s network of representatives to determine what the problem is and how best to solve the problem. The skill just adds a new interface for Agero, which already services 12 million accidents and breakdowns a year, according to the company.
“Our goal at Agero is to make it easy for motorists to get help when they have a breakdown,” Agero CTO Raj Behara said in a statement. “Working with Amazon to create this innovative, out-of-the-box assistance capability for Alexa is a reflection of that mission, and part of our ongoing commitment to digitally transform and dramatically simplify the roadside experience for drivers.”
Amazon granting top level intent to Agero opens up a new arena for competition among skills vying for the same customer base. Agero didn’t say exactly how the deal came about, just that it has had a long and comprehensive partnership with Amazon Web Services. The arrangement led to multiple conversations about Agero’s work and how it might leverage AWS to better serve its customers.
“We had been discussing other opportunities with the Alexa team as part of our work in the automotive space when we each saw a gap in the marketplace for this type of capability,” Agero responded in an email to Voicebot. “It became clear that this was an innovation we both wanted to lead on. It is the natural progression of the digital roadside assistance experience we were already delivering to customers through other channels, such as mobile and web app.”
For Alexa to automatically initiate a third-party skill sans any stated preference or previous use is potentially hugely significant. It skips any search or comparison and indirectly indicates that Amazon prefers Blink over alternatives like Urgent.ly. As Voicebot founder Bret Kinsella put it, Agero scoring top level intent is “like winning the Alexa jackpot.”