As part of a broad push of Alexa-themed announcements, U.S.-based e-commerce giant Amazon has expanded its Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) to Canadian developers.
The ASK can be used to build Skills for Alexa users in Canada, meaning that users can expand the number of natural-language voice commands they deliver to Amazon’s digital assistant.
A number of Canadian companies have already released their expanded skillsets, including Air Canada, Telus, Bank of Montreal (BMO), TD Bank and Ecobee.
Below is a list of Canadian companies that have formally announced skills for Alexa-enabled devices:
Users will be able to ask to learn more about flight information, including flight status, airfare and even which baggage carousel to go to when the plane lands. Users will also be able to ask Alexa about required travel documents, ticket policies and TSA pre-check availability.
The company specified that it will release more skills in the future.
Users will be able to learn more about TD products and services, bank branch locations, as well as exchange rates.
More skills will be available in the future, says TD.
Users will be able to learn more about ATM locations, exchange rates, as well as information on BMO products.
More skills will be available in the future, according to the company.
Telus customers will be able to use Alexa to make mobile phone calls, check billing information and data usage, as well as add expanded services to their data plans.
More skills will be available in the future.
Canadians will be able to get a daily burst of hourly news, as well as local news from 13 regions across the country.
The CBC also plans on releasing a skill that will provide information from 30 regional CBC Radio One broadcasts on an hourly basis.
The Weather Network
As one can imagine, users will be able to ask for detailed weather information, as well as the latest weather alerts and advisories across the country.
Ecobee smart thermostat owners will be able to use Alexa to remotely control the Ecobee3 and Ecobee3 lite via a voice-activated speaker, with the Ecobee4 featuring built-in voice control and Alexa functionality.
Hashtag Trending’s Flash Briefing
ITWorldCanada’s daily Hashtag Trending podcast is available as an Alexa Skill.
Canadians who follow Global News will be able to ask Alexa for the latest headlines. Alexa will also be able to read out full stories.
Global’s parent company, Corus Entertainment, is also releasing a series of skills for its radio stations. Users will be able to ask Alexa to tune into livestreams from 30 FM stations, as well as eight news talk stations.
Business News Network
Users will be able to ask Alexa to deliver the latest business news and insights.
When asked, Alexa will be able to provide users with the latest parenting tips from Today’s Parent magazine.
The Globe and Mail
Users will be able to get the latest news and headlines from the Globe and Mail.
Alexa will be able to provide sports news and information, while also allowing users to listen to Sportsnet radio like Sportsnet Radio Fan 590.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Hockey fans will be able to keep up with the latest Leafs news, while also getting information about events like the date and time for the next game.
Sports fans will be able to ask Alexa for flash briefings about the latest news.
Insurance provider Manulife plans on launching what the company calls ‘Manulife Benefits.’ Users will be able to ask
Alexa to check medical account balances, track vision care, dental care and more.
Users will be able to ask Alexa for the latest National Post headlines, as well as information on the latest stories.
The Canadian Press
Users will be able to ask Alexa to get 60-second or four-minute news updates, including breaking regional, national and world updates.
KFC has enabled a skill under “KFC Canada” that feeds you chicken jokes, pick-up lines, random chicken thoughts, references to chicken in pop culture, and you can play the Colonel’s Quiz, which is a pop culture trivia game. All you have to do is “Ask KFC to Talk Chicken to Me.”
Users can now track Santa Claus — the jolly man in red himself — using the Kayak Skill. The Skill uses Kayak’s flight tracker to provide real-time information on Mr. Claus’s whereabouts. Users can also use the Kayak skill to book hotel rooms, flights, and also get travel information.
TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin can now be accessed through your Alexa-powered devices. This skill is only available to those in Ontario
This is only a brief list of companies that have announced skills for Alexa. Keep checking back for an updated list.