Big Sky™ already worked with Audio UX® to create an array of "earcons" to signal current weather conditions. We thought with the introduction of the advanced audio capabilities that came with APL-A, we would see how to push the idea of a truly multi-modal (text, visual, and audio) skill even further

What it does

Big Sky soundscapes extend existing earcons to provide the an audio story to go along with the weather forecast. Background audio tracks the weather conditions currently being reported to make the weather forecast come alive, and reinforce the visual and spoken information. Where the weather is changing - for example, Rain today, clearing tomorrow - the background soundscapes reflect this, e.g., fading slowly from rain drops to birds chirping.

Users can turn on or off soundscapes at any time.

How I built it

Working closely with Audio UX®, we integrated a set of layered soundscapes that could seamlessly transition into another and reflect current and changing weather conditions. I made extensive use of APL-A, including various APL-A filters (trim, fade.)

Challenges I ran into

The main difficulty was indexing the background audio to the spoken text. Weather reports can be of different lengths and the background audio needs to stay in sync and always be of the correct length - it needs to end when the spoken text ends. Also, when the weather transitions, the background sounds needs to be indexed to those changes.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

The whole idea of pushing Big Sky to become not just a personalized weather experience, but a truly immersive one, too. I think the skill really takes full advantage of all the multi-modal features that Alexa provides.

What's next for Big Sky

More personalization! Perhaps letting users access soundscape packs?

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