New Alexa Connect Kit SDK Eases Amazon’s Restrictions for Smart Home Device Makers
Amazon is offering smart home device manufacturers more flexibility and control over their Alexa-enabled products. The new Alexa Connect Kit SDK (ACK SDK) augments the ACK introduced in 2019 to better fit the manufacturer’s design and fabrication preferences, lowering costs and opening the door for a more extensive Alexa-enabled smart home ecosystem.
The ACK is designed as a way to simplify adding Alexa to any device. The kit allows Alexa to control the device without the builder needing to design any firmware or set up an Alexa skill. Last year, Amazon released the ACK Module with Espressif Chipset, adding Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and halving its prices to further encourage device manufacturers to embed Alexa in their Internet of Things products.
The ACK SDK extends that effort by providing manufacturers with a way to make more granular adjustments. The ACK allows builders more leeway in selecting the size, material, and other components of the device, in some cases lowering the cost of manufacturing more than was feasible for Alexa-enabled devices before. Developers can put together prototypes with ACK SDK, including any of the callbacks and APIs provided by Alexa they want to insert. The ACK SDK works with Espressif, but developers can submit other System-on-Chips (SoC) for Amazon’s approval if they have a preference. Once the prototype design is refined, the company can start making and selling Alexa-enabled appliances and smart home devices.
“ACK SDK comes pre-integrated with components for Alexa control (Smart Home Skill APIs), Frustration Free Setup, security, log and metric collection, and firmware updates – managed by Amazon,” Amazon senior tech product manager Nithya Chandrasekaran explained in a blog post. “Further, since ACK SDK is available as source code, it allows you to customize even more, such as fine-tuning power profiles by taking advantage of the SoCs low-power modes and having better control over peripherals.”