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Wednesday, April 19, 2017
 AWS Makes Amazon Lex Chatbot Available to Everyone
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Amazon Lex, the technology that powers Amazon Alexa, is now available to all Amazon Web Services customers.

Lex is an artificial intelligence (AI) service for building applications that can have conversations using voice and text. Amazon Lex brings the deep learning algorithms that power Amazon Alexa to all developers as a fully managed service. To get started with Amazon Lex, visit: https://aws.amazon.com/lex/.

Amazon Lex makes it easy for developers to build apps that can have conversations using voice or text by offering the same ASR and NLU technologies that power Amazon Alexa, as a fully managed service. With Amazon Lex, developers can build and test conversational apps that perform tasks such as checking the weather or latest news, booking travel, ordering food, getting the latest sales or marketing data from business software, or controlling a connecting device. To build a conversational app, developers provide Amazon Lex sample phrases that describe a user's intent (e.g., 'book a flight") along with the corresponding information Amazon Lex needs to ask to fulfill the intent (e.g., travel date and destination), and any required questions Amazon Lex needs to ask to elicit additional information (e.g., "when do you want to travel?" and "where do you want to go?"). Amazon Lex takes care of the rest by building a machine learning model that parses the speech or text input from the user, understands the intent behind the conversation, and manages the conversation (e.g., if the travel date is already known, the app will skip that question and ask for the destination). Developers can then publish the conversational app to mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, web applications, and chat services such as Facebook Messenger, Slack or Twilio. Amazon Lex handles the authentication required by different platforms using the customer provided keys and scales automatically as traffic increases, so developers don't have to worry about provisioning and managing infrastructure.

As with other cloud-based services, Amazon will charge developers based on how many text or voice requests Lex processes.

Amazon Lex is integrated with AWS Lambda, which lets developers run code without provisioning or managing servers (serverless). This means that developers can build Amazon Lex conversational apps that use Lambda functions to implement business logic and retrieve data from enterprise applications and AWS Services like Amazon DynamoDB. Amazon Lex also includes built-in connectors that make it easy for conversational apps to access data from SaaS applications like Salesforce, Marketo, Zendesk, and QuickBooks so apps built using Amazon Lex can answer questions like "what are my top 10 accounts in Salesforce" by fetching appropriate data from Salesforce.

Lex underscores how Amazon is racing to be the top player in voice-controlled computing, after losing out in mobile to Apple and Alphabet's Google.

 
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