Alexa Skills: UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Alexa skill, UIS, is live! Built by the UIS Office of Web Services, this skill (beta) connects to a UIS knowledge base that contains frequently asked questions and facts.

To activate the skill, say, “Alexa, enable U.I.S.” to your Amazon Alexa device.

To use the skill, the following are a few examples:

  • “Alexa, ask U.I.S. about today’s menu.”
  • “Alexa, ask U.I.S. about latest news.”
  • “Alexa, ask U.I.S. for a quick fact.”
  • “Alexa, ask U.I.S. about Admissions.”
  • “Alexa, ask U.I.S. about housing options.”

Amazon Echo

Things to Consider About the Alexa Voice Service

1) Understanding search: From text to voice search, the need to understand predictive search becomes even more critical. This means that your content will need to be more conversational in nature. In other words, semantic search is a game changer.

2) Voice recognition accuracy: The level of accuracy for voice recognition continues to improve. Enhancements in machine learning algorithms will continue to enhance this level of accuracy.

3) Develop a schema: Without a visual display for voice, your schema needs to be developed based on the information you are trying to provide to the end user. Think Knowledge Graph.

4) Queries are longer: For voice search, your queries will tend to be longer. For example, you are most likely to type “weather seattle” but speak “What’s the weather like in Seattle?”

5) Submission: Amazon Alexa Developer guidelines should be followed, when building your application. This means providing callbacks to all mandatory intents.

Room to Grow

With proper content management strategy and context in mind, the following queries would be of interest for higher ed institution as they look into developing an Alexa skill:

  • What are my appointments today?
  • What’s my class schedule for today?
  • What’s my practice schedule for today?
  • What games are on today?
  • What’s on the events calendar today?
  • What’s the news headline for today?
  • Search for Jill Smith on the Directory?