As posted on Now You Can Talk to Alexa Over Slack
Alexa is designed to work with your voice, but sometimes yelling out to the virtual assistant isn’t exactly ideal. Now you can talk to Alexa and use most of her abilities right from Slack.
It’s called SilentEcho. Developed by Bespoken, the bot (which is in beta right now) uses text-to-speech to take the words you type and turn them into speech. Then it uses Amazon’s APIs to send that voice message to Alexa to handle your task, even with screaming kids, jackhammers, or loud music in the background.
The idea was to create a way for developers who are working on Alexa apps to interact with the virtual assistant in an easier way, but it could be useful for non-developers too.
They’re doing construction in my building right now which has made me retreat into the comfort of my noise-cancelling headphones during the day. Unfortunately, blocking out the chainsaws means I’m also blocking out my Echo. Now I can do most of the things I would do with my Echo during the day without yelling over construction equipment.
Silent Echo doesn’t work for everything. For security reasons, the app doesn’t allow you to do anything that links to a payment account, so you won’t be able to order Dominos or case of toilet paper from Amazon. However, you can do things like turn on the lights in your home, add something to a playlist, or ask for a weather update. A generic Silent Echo account (tied to an Amazon account with super limited privileges) can also be used in group chat channels.
You’ll need to be an admin on your Slack account to enable the bot. If you’re an app developer on a small team that shouldn’t be too hard, but for those who work for larger companies convincing the boss to sign up could be a bit of a challenge.
It’s certainly not something you’ll use all the time (sometimes even a web search would be easier than doing this), but it can definitely come in handy sometimes.
A Twitter version is supposedly on the way as well, which could be even more useful.