🏆 Smartly.AI delighted to be named an Alexa Champion

Earlier this year, our CEO and co-founder, Hicham Tahiri, was honoured to be awarded the title “Alexa Champion” thanks to his knowledge and passion for Amazon Alexa, in addition to his motivation to educate and inspire other developers in the community. Smartly.AI was founded with the ambition of widening the access to voice and chat interfaces and introducing conversational intelligence into daily lives of everyone. This recognition from Amazon Alexa marks an important stage in our company’s development.
Smartly AI named Alexa Champion

What exactly is an Alexa Champion?

Since the creation of Amazon Alexa, the contributions from developers in the form of tools, tutorials, online training, meetups and more, has skyrocketed. Alexa Champions distinguishes the most engaged developers and contributors in the community.

Our love story with Alexa

In 2012, Smartly.AI’s two co-founders observed both the rapid growth and huge potential of voice interfaces and intelligent chatbots. However, one thing was missing: a tool to help developers build applications for vocal and text platforms. Thus, Smartly.AI was born.

When Alexa was launched in 2015, its openness was a developer’s dream. The Smartly.AI team set to work on creating Alexa Designer, a developer toolbox that offered a visual conversation design tool with automatic code generation and a community-generated intents library, plus a voice simulator, meaning users could speak to the skill directly in the browser without requiring an echo. The platform attracted hundreds of developers and following the arrival of more vocal assistants, Smartly.AI broadened its scope to incorporate more and more voice (and chat) platforms.

What it means to us

The programme selected over 20 champions worldwide. Hicham was the only French developer to be recognised and we are immensely proud to be waving the flag for vocal technology in France. This title not only recognises our hard work to date in the vocal industry, but encourages us to go even further. As artificial intelligence continues to transform our world, we will ensure that we provide both businesses and developers with the essential tools they need to harness the power of AI to change daily life, at both home and work, for the better.

A big thank you to Amazon Alexa for this title, we are looking forward to continuing to build great things together – the best is yet to come 😉


Interested in finding out more about how our platform works and how it can help you? We would love to chat!

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🔊Introducing Audicons™

The way we are interacting with our digital world
will be completely changed with the rise of voice assistants such as Alexa or Assistant.

We created Smartly.AI to make this transition easier for developers while pushing the horizons of Conversational AI.

The Problem
Currently, if you want to build a rich message for your bot, you can use a language called SSML to mix Voice Synthesis and Audio Sounds.
With SSML you can do pretty amazing things ( change the pitch and tone of the voice, add silences, …). You can check a documentation on how Alexa’s SSML . But, the issue here is that SSML has also a tricky syntax that makes it quite hard to master for a new developer.
As an illustration, let’s see what I have to do to build an answer to this question with SSML:

“Alexa, ask PlaneWatcher: Where is the plane DC-132?”

<speak>
    <audio src="https://server.com/audio/plane.mp3"/> 
    <s>Welcome to Plane Watcher, 
    <audio src="https://server.com/audio/sad.mp3" /> 
    <s>The plane DC-132 is currently being delayed of 30 minutes!
</speak>

Wait another XML like grammar to deal with… 🤔
Come on, this has to be fixed!

Our solution
As we overuse emoticons in our Slack channel, we couldn’t resist to try to transpose this awesome language to the voice world!
After a few experiments, we are happy to present you our latest creation:
the Audicons !

✈ Welcome to Plane Watcher ☹ The place DC-132 is currently being delayed of 30 minutes!

Audicons  is a set of standardized audio-files that can be easily recognized and associated to specific meanings. Audicons will be soon open sourced so you can reuse them in your ownprojects, Stay tuned 😀
In most cases, we think Audicons can replace SSML.
Audicons have the potential to evolve to a standardized audioset used in ALL the voice interfaces.

A short examples you may want to create for weather forecasts

😃 Tomorrow is gonna be sunny ☀🕶!
😩Tomorrow is gonna be rainy ☔⛈!

Hear our first Audicons in the demo below.

Cool isn’it ? 😃
Wich ones do you prefer?

You can already use Audicons in your Alexa skill if you build it with Smartly.AI but we plan to open source them soon along with our SSML generator.

Now it’s up to you to make your beloved Alexa more expressive  !