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Arizona State University, Amazon Bring Voice Technology Program to University Setting

Students at Arizona State University are taking part in an immersive voice technology program on a university campus, with support from the Amazon Alexa team.

As part of the project, students moving into Tooker House, a new living, learning and working center for engineers, will have a new Amazon Echo Dot and become part of a voice-enabled, learning-enhanced residential community on a university campus.

In addition, students in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering – an engineering school with more than 20,000 students – can sign up for courses that teach new concepts focused on building voice user interfaces, including Alexa skills. Incoming freshmen engineering students will be able to build Alexa skills and join the community of voice developers.

As part of the voice technology project, students moving into Tooker House, a new living, learning and working center for engineers, will have a new Amazon Echo Dot and become part of a voice-enabled, learning-enhanced residential community on a university campus.

As part of the voice technology project, students moving into Tooker House, a new living, learning and working center for engineers, will have a new Amazon Echo Dot and become part of a voice-enabled, learning-enhanced residential community on a university campus.

ASU also will introduce an ASU-specific skill for Alexa to enhance the campus experience for students, faculty, staff and alumni. Anyone with an Alexa-enabled device can use the A.S.U. skill to get information about the university and the campus.

“It’s about innovation and ensuring our graduates are equipped to play a leadership role as voice-enabled technology becomes part of everyday life in homes, shopping malls, workplaces, and cities,” says Kyle Squires, dean of ASU’s Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“With voice-enabled devices becoming more prevalent in our connected world, it only makes sense to bring these capabilities to our campus,” says John Rome, ASU’s Deputy Chief Information Officer.

The voice program includes the following:

  • three undergraduate engineering courses this semester incorporating voice user interface development, with a fourth course planned for this spring;
  • voice application development incorporated into the Fulton Schools’ signature Capstone and FURI (Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative) student project programs, as well as its EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) outreach program that pairs students with organizations and people seeking solutions in the community;
  • ability for engineering students to build their own Alexa skills, independently and in the classroom, using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) – a collection of application program interfaces (APIs), tools, documentation and code examples – to join the community of voice developers;
  • engineering students who are moving into the new Tooker House residence hall this semester and who choose to participate in the program will receive an Echo Dot; and
  • the new Alexa skill, Arizona State University – Events, Hours & Info (“A.S.U.” for short), designed to enhance the campus experience. The Alexa skill was scheduled to be live August 28.

The voice technology program, according to ASU, opens the door to a future university setting that combines sensing, connectivity and data analytics to inform decision making, optimize operations and energy efficiency, and create a personalized campus experience for every student, professor, staff member and alumnus.

For more info, visit Arizona State University.

Sources: Press materials received from the company.

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