Chapter 2. Industry Overview: The Ecosystem at a Glance

The bot ecosystem is developing quickly, but its contours have begun to emerge in the abundant platforms and frameworks available to bot developers. Here are brief descriptions of the most notable.

Platforms and Frameworks for Messaging and Agent Communication

Bots live on these platforms.

Amazon Alexa

Alexa is the voice service behind Amazon’s Echo, a voice-controlled speaker. Developers can write plug-ins (Amazon calls them “skills”) that enable users to interact with services using voice commands. Skills use the Alexa Skills Kit, a bundle of tools provided by Amazon.

The Alexa Skills Kit includes a step-by-step checklist for getting started, designing voice user interfaces, building, hosting, and reviewing code, and submitting skills for certification. It also includes the Smart Home Skill API, which allows developers to teach Alexa how to control lighting and thermostat devices. All of the code runs in the cloud.

Apple Siri

In a move that would have been unimaginable a few years ago, Apple announced in June 2016 that it would open Siri to developers. The move makes it possible to integrate Siri deeply into iOS apps.

SiriKit enables iOS 10 apps to work with Siri. Developers can build extensions that communicate with Siri and register with specific domains that define the tasks that the app can perform. Siri handles voice and natural language recognition and can work with your extension to get information and handle ...

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