The video has a similiar brief explanation, before the demo starts.
Municity is simply a backend service for now, while our Alexa skill "Local Buzz" uses this backend to create a great consumer experience. The Alexa skill invite was sent to "firstname.lastname@example.org." The link below will only work for that address. Please let us know if you require additional tester accounts.
As Amazon beings to partner with towns and cities, we sought to create the social hub and consumer app that will link these two worlds even more closely.
What it does
MUNICITY is a freemium web service that enables cities to easily build out a social hub. Anyone, including city officials, can list local events, discover free or paid concerts, locate civic resources, while providing the widest possible outreach.
With the event database populated, our Local Buzz Alexa skill then localizes the events for anywhere in the U.S., making events easily available via true ‘conversational control’. So once you've discovered a local event you like, you can easily action it. For example, “ Sign up, register, buy tickets, create personal and social calendars, invite others,” etc.
How we built it
We utilized the Alexa Skills Kit and Amazon Lambda, to build out a full functioning demo of the consumer experience.
Challenges we ran into
Designing for VUI is brand new to us, so we had to think through all the ways a user could potentially interact with Local Buzz and what their expectations might be. It required a lot of testing, especially by our friends who had not built the tool.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We feel that the conversation control makes this skill a useful tool for our users. We're especially proud of the potential social impact this can have in our communities
What we learned
Voice UI is a brand new world and its exciting to be part of. The developer experience was amazing and Amazon tools are well suited to encourage more developers.
What's next for Municity (Local Buzz)
By providing a single funnel, MUNICITY obviates the need for each city or township to make their own Alexa skill. Furthermore, MUNICITY expertly aggregates all our user experience data, which we then sell back to cities via a premium subscription.
Cities are experiencing tough times, but the bulk of all civic income comes from a share of local retail sales tax, and hotel bed taxes. So promoting civic events is squarely within any city's economic self-interest.
Being able to measure the pull and uptake of these social events (i.e., via user metrics) in real time, enables cities to forecast economic impact, and refine their event-marketing to reach even more visitors. This kind of market data is absolutely something cities can-and-will pay for.
By capturing users' local intent, MUNICITY provides a durable framework for several other VUI skills and services. We are confident each of these skills can be monetized, and that bundled together - such that MUNICITY will lead Amazon organically into a new kind of customer-centric audio experience.
MUNICITY intends to become a 'do engine' that drives development of a new suite of personal productivity tools and services (e.g., personal calendars, event purchases, mapping directions, parking and event location-based services, hotel bookings, etc.).