OVERVIEW

 

With the requirement to create a new tool that utilizes Alexa to complete a task including a minimum of one 3rd party integration, our team met and began with a brainstorming session. From this session our project was set using a combination of ideas contributed by both Robin De Bled and Jim Watson.

 

Alexa Plaxitudes would allow a user to voice a command to Alexa that would send an Andy Plax quote via text message (or email if text is unavailable) to a specified Slack user. Each team member was given a task to achieve this.

 

Kat Corbi was assigned as project manager and with helpful guidance from Matt Bochneak, team/task assignments were made.

 

The team collectively suggested various quotes to be used and they were then categorized to allow the Plaxitude user to specify the type of quote that would be sent.

 

User Scenarios were created by Matt Bochneak, along with project questions. This would be used as a guideline for the project as a whole.

 

Robin de Bled was responsible for setting up the database that would house the quotes, organized by category. He was also responsible for setting up Twilio to be used to actually send the text messages.

 

In order to determine who the text should be sent to, the Plaxitudes user would specify that person by first name which would be used to reference the slack directory. Scott Arciszewski was in charge of setting up the slack integration for this. Using the person’s name spoken to Alexa, the slack directory would be searched and return with a phone number to be texted. If the number available in the directory was a phone that could not receive texts, the slack user’s email address would be then used to send the quote as an email message.

 

Ryan Shay was assigned to work on the Lambda function that would bring all of the above components together to allow Alexa to complete a Plaxitude request.  

 

The team collectively suggested various quotes to be used and they were then categorized to allow the Plaxitude user to specify the type of quote that would be sent.

 

Matt Bochneak was our presenter and provided a series of Plaxitude demonstrations and made some magic.

 


CHALLENGES & SUCCESSES

 

During the creation of this tool, a few challenges emerged relating to both Twilio and Lambda. When setting up Twilio, we were unsure of the result when a text would be sent to a number that would not be able to receive a text. With some extra time, Robin was able to set it up so that if a text was sent to a number that could not receive a text or if a phone number is not available that the quote would be sent to the email address associated with the slack user’s account.  

 

Setting up Lambda was the biggest challenge as it was new territory for our team. After reviewing tutorials, Ryan began working with Jim to overcome this.