Internet emergency alerts: Alexa now supports "Announcements"

Sean Donelan sean at
Wed May 29 17:19:49 UTC 2019

Amazon has announced a new API for its voice services, i.e. Alexa. This 
enables one-way Alexa announcements within a household and from Apps 
without prompting by the user.

Although the Amazon blog did not comment about the use of Amazon 
Announcements concerning Emergency Alert System broadcasts (e.g. tornado 
warnings, evacuation alerts, wildfires, etc), this newe API may solve the 
previous constrain that Alexa devices only responded to user interaction. 
Previously, Alexa speakers could tell you there was a tornado warning 
when you asked for the current weather or passively show weather warnings 
on Amazon Echo Show screens. Alexa would not proactively announce 
warnings until you prompted it.

I don't know if Amazon will leave it up to 3rd parties to create Apps with 
emergency alert announcements.

Google Search passively shows some emergency alerts at the top of its 
search pages based on your location. Google Assistant devices do not 
appear to react to emergency alerts.

Netflix, Hulu and other streaming apps are likely the wrong layer for 
emergency alerts.  Alerts should likely be part of the device management 
layer, to provide consistent behavior across apps instead of app by app.

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