Microsoft and Amazon Work Together to Make Voice Experiences Better

by | Aug 16, 2018

At the Microsoft Build Conference in early May, Microsoft and Amazon joined the stage together to introduce a concept they were working on to build a bridge connecting Alexa and Cortana. It was introduced with some basic concepts of asking the other to execute a task or do something only the other could do. 

For example, “Alexa, ask Cortana to reschedule my 4 o’clock meeting”. Since Cortana has deeper integrations with Microsoft services and Windows 10 such as Outlook and Alexa has a broader audience in home devices, they decided to partner instead of simply compete. 

Since the preview in May, Microsoft and Amazon have announced the official preview available immediately to both Alexa and Cortana users. But what does this mean for Alexa and Cortana users? And what does it mean for people building custom skills for both Alexa and Cortana alike? 

This initial preview release is rather clunky and limited in its scope of capabilities, so users will be limited to most of the built-in functionality between the two assistants. This means custom skills on each assistant cannot be invoked from the other, however, the hope of this functionality is there for both teams. However, because each assistant serves different intended purposes to their users (typically Cortana professionally and Alexa at home), the interactions between the two are incredibly convenient and will continue to become more viable as the bridge between the two becomes stronger. As more and more custom skills are created to fill the gaps of the assistants and bring custom functionality to other services, the type of skills each assistant offers may continue to diverge. Cortana continues to focus on making tasks quicker for users of Windows while Alexa aims to connect people to more information as well as their own home. 

On top of this bridge between the two assistants, Amazon has also announced the availability of Alexa on Windows 10 devices through an Alexa app (similar to the Alexa mobile app). This native Windows application will also help allow for both assistants to communicate more easily and integrate with each other’s systems.  

This deeper alliance between the two assistants is also great news for Voicify users. Since the Voicify Content Management SystemTM already supports both Alexa and Cortana natively, more functionality co between the two means more integrated into Voicify and our customers applications . While built-in functionality of the Voicify Experience PlatformTM will continue to help bring the same content to both assistants, custom features and functionality built on top of Voicify can help drive better user experience by building unique functionality per assistant to continue offering integrations in the directions they each want to go. Perhaps your Voicify Cortana skill can do more with your user’s day to day professional life while your Voicify Alexa skill brings more functionality to the home – who’s to say! Right now, we will wait eagerly for more development on this front, and continue to stay on top of the latest updates and trends between the two. 

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