Alexa: How do I get free AWS? Simples: Build more of ME!

Amazon throws AWS credits at Alexa dev fans

Alexa photo via Shutterstock

Amazon is throwing free cloud credits at developers building apps for Alexa hosted on AWS.

The cloud giant will give aspiring AI devs $200 worth of credit in an apparent response to the fact devs were hitting its existing free service too hard.

The AWS Free Tier had dished out one million AWS Lambda requests and up to 750 hours on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) each month for free.

But you got slapped with charges if you exceeded this limit.

“Our goal is to free up developers to create more robust and unique skills that can take advantage of AWS services,” Amazon said in a statement on the change.

In other words, Amazon doesn’t dare place a cap on what devs are building with Alexa and hosting on AWS at an important, early phase in the evolution of digital assistants and on-going growth of cloud.

Placing fees before growth at this stage risks alienating devs and seeing them drift away to rivals, such as Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Assistant.

You think this is about rinky-dink consumer-facing apps and unicorn startups? Think again.

Firms like Amazon are promoting the possibilities of their assistants as serious business tools.

The UK insurance firm Aviva has developed an “ask Aviva” service, with Alexa programmed to understand the insurance firm’s insurance documents.

It’s billed as jargon-busting service that lets customers ask questions about their policies such as “what is a no claims discount?”

It’s early days, but clearly AWS sees Alexa as a potential platform for digital business similar to how the iPad and iPhone took on the traditional PC.

Under the free deal, announced Wednesday, devs will receive credits to the underlying AWS plumbing such as EC2, S3, DynamoDB and CloudFront.

Developers need a “live” Alexa skill to qualify. Those who do possess an Alexa skill can apply to receive a $100 AWS promotional credit and an additional $100 per month in AWS promotional credits if they incur AWS usage charges for their skill. ®

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