Amazon recently updated its Alexa Agencies and Tools page and added four new entries to the agencies list. Connected Lab, Isobar, TVGla and VoiceXP were all added over the past month. This brings the total agencies recognized by the Amazon Alexa team to 31.
The Mystery of Getting on the List
While Amazon doesn’t formally acknowledge developers, agencies or tools as “partners,” many feel that recognition on the agencies and tools page is a critical credential for anyone focused in Alexa skill development. The requirement to become listed is not clear. In the latest group of agencies, Voicebot could not identify any Alexa skills built by Connected Lab and the company declined to confirm any in production. TVGla also didn’t respond to inquiries and it only has two internally focused skills so it is not clear the agency has done client work in the space.
By contrast, VoiceXP lists CenturyLink, Vormetric and Dynatrace as customers and includes two Alexa Champions on the team, Bob Stolzberg and Mark Tucker. Similarly, Isobar worked with DIAGEO at the Cannes Film Festival and had built a skill for the agency itself. The company also has a history of working in the chatbot space. We assume all of the listed agencies have capabilities to build voice experiences. It is an open question how much experience is required to make the list. Isobar’s Chandra Raju did offer this insight from his firm’s work with voice applications. This is a great tip for anyone wading into voice application development.
The voice market has lot of potential as long as you can intrigue the user with new choices from the same skill, like updating the content, providing different choices and [making] them come back. This is only possible by collecting usage metrics around requests, responses and failures, constantly improve them to meet user needs which is like a feedback loop.
How Should Independent Developers Be Recognized
All of this still leaves open the question posed in an earlier article. If Amazon is going to recognize large agencies for their abilities in voice application development, should it also recognize independent developers that have built some of the more popular Alexa skills, have proven their expertise in the medium and also do contract work for companies? This is a more complicated endeavor but one that Amazon should consider given its focus on cultivating the Alexa developer community and its interest in having more high quality Alexa skills.