Alexa is not a monolithic app delivered by Amazon, but rather an ecosystem of highly specialized voice apps (or Skills) that are all available on the Alexa platform. There are clear roles for software providers, hardware providers and Amazon as the platform provider.
The software providers can focus on building innovative Skills. They do not need to think about any hardware details and can rely on standardized hardware, standardized voice recognition, and natural language understanding capabilities.
The hardware provider can focus on building compatible hardware. They do not need to think about new and innovative software or even about voice recognition or language understanding models.
Amazon does not only provide the technology infrastructure, voice recognition, and language understanding technology but most of all, Amazon brings all the involved parties – providers and customers – together, reduces any friction, sets some ground rules, and orchestrates the involved parties, so they can together provide an attractive set of features to the end-user.
In my new book “Making Money with Alexa Skills – A Developer’s Guide” I describe not only how to develop, but also how to monetize Alexa Skills. Account linking is one of the possibilities for personalizing a Skill and make it unique – more practical approaches for personalizing Skills are described in the book.