Sky teaches Alexa some new Tricks

Sky New Zealand have announced that they have created their own skill for use with Amazon Alexa.

he Amazon Echo Family of Alexa-enabled devices are now available in New Zealand and SKY has been working closely with Amazon to develop one of the inaugural New Zealand launch skills.  Once a customer enables the skill for Alexa, the SKY TV skill allows users to interact with the company’s Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) to find out more about what’s on any of the channels available on the SKY platform.

The SKY TV Alexa skill can be used by anyone with an Alexa-enabled device such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Plus or Echo Dot and provides a convenient voice-activated experience.  At launch users will be able to ask Alexa what programmes are on, when they are on, what channel they’re on, check a channel number and what the SKY “Picks of the Day” are – all they have to do is ask.

“Alexa is already a useful and entertaining part of the lives of millions of people across the globe, and we’re thrilled to work with Amazon to offer one of the first New Zealand Alexa skills when the Amazon Echo Family launches this month,” said Julian Wheeler, SKY’s Chief Product and Technology Officer.

“We’re always looking for ways to make it easier for our customers to find out about our great TV and movies and the SKY TV skill allows them to just ask Alexa.  Intelligent voice services are the way of the future and we have some really fun things planned for our customers as we further develop the SKY TV Alexa skill.”

At launch Alexa will draw on the resources of SKY’s EPG to help users with content discovery by being able to navigate through channel information across all free-to-air, SKY and pay-per-view channels available on the SKY Platform.  Regular updates over the coming months will see Alexa adding more useful features with a focus on customer assistance.

“As more functionality is added over time, customers will be able to link Alexa to their SKY account which means they’ll be able to do more cool things by simply asking.  They could record a show or ask for a simple customer service request without picking up the phone – whether it’s booking a pay-per-view event, checking their account balance or even changing a channel.  All they’ll need to do is ask,” Mr Wheeler said.

How it works:

  • Once they’ve purchased an Alexa-enabled device like Amazon Echo, viewers will need to enable the SKY TV skill using the Alexa App.
  • Viewers open the SKY TV skill for Alexa using a selection of prompts such as “Alexa, open SKY TV” or “Alexa, launch SKY TV”.
  • Alexa will respond with “Welcome to SKY TV, your personal viewing companion”.
  • Users can then chose the option they’d like to hear more on – what programmes are on, when they are on and what channel they’re on, check a channel number or hear SKY’s “Picks of the Day”.

SKY has worked closely with Auckland-based leading creative technology company Rush Digital in the development of its Alexa skill.

“At RUSH we continuously help businesses create impact with the latest technologies. Being at the forefront of voice user interface (VUI), we were immediately excited by the New Zealand launch of Amazon Alexa and what it could mean for SKY,’” said Pavan Vyas, CEO and Managing Director of Rush Digital.

“Our experts have collaborated closely with the SKY product development team to design, test, validate and build a brand new skill, and we can’t wait to see how this technology evolves customer experiences and the digital ecosystem for SKY and other New Zealand businesses.”

The SKY TV skill for Alexa will be available to anyone with an Alexa-enabled device.

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1 Comment

  1. John says

    Awesome piece of tech. Thanks for the opportunity to win one!

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