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Talking footy, with Amazon Alexa’s new AFL skill

Entertainment

Posted on April 12, 2018

3 min read

When you’re watching your footy team play, it’s often hard to look away.

Hands-free speakers let you turn your home into an automated, voice-activated hub, and with the launch of our new Alexa AFL skill, now you don’t have to look away to get deeper information about your favourite team, players or the game you love.

Alexa is Amazon’s voice service and the brain behind millions of devices like the Amazon Echo.  Alexa provides capabilities, or skills, that enable you to create a more personalised voice experience.

The Amazon Alexa Skill API allows third party partners (like Telstra and the AFL) to build voice experiences that tap into the power of Alexa. These experiences are called “Alexa skills”, skills essentially enable Amazon’s voice assistant to connect to hardware and software to perform certain tasks.

To launch the AFL skill, once enabled on the device, it is as simple as asking, “Alexa, ask AFL who the Hawks play next?” or “Alexa, ask AFL who’s on top of the ladder?”. 

You can then ask Alexa a range of questions about your team and the AFL. For example, ask “when are the Bombers and the Tigers playing next?” and it will respond with specific details like, “Bombers are playing Tigers at 7:25 pm on 2 June in round 11 at Docklands Stadium.”

The AFL skill is currently active with information about:

  • 2018 fixtures
  • The AFL Ladder
  • Historical scores; and
  • Latest news.

Some of the new functionality being developed also includes live stats like:

  • Player rating,
  • Goals,
  • Disposals; and
  • AFL Fantasy points.

The cool part about this is the fact that fans can be watching the game at home, and ask the Alexa skill, “How many goals has Buddy Franklin kicked?”, or “How many disposals has Dustin Martin had?” and the device will be able to answer these questions in real time.

We are also constantly adding new terminology like common nicknames for players so fans can ask colloquial questions like:

“How many tackles has Dusty had?”

“How many kicks has Hodgey had?”

“How many Fantasy points does Nic Nat have this round?”

Fans can also stay up-to-date on their favorite club’s news by enabling one of the Flash Briefing Skills. Each AFL club has a skill, and once enabled, Alexa will play updated news headlines when you ask, “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing” or “Alexa, what’s in the news?”

But it doesn’t stop there. What’s really exciting is that along with Alexa’s answer, the device can now offer follow up questions like, “do you want to know the score when these teams last played?”

This two-way conversation with AFL fans opens up some amazing opportunities and truly puts us at the edge of how technology is evolving in the home with voice control here in Australia.