I created My Video Alexa skill to be a safe home for my family memorable moments. But recently, we started to receive emails like these:

  • "Please consider adding “Custom Tasks” to your Skill so that I could launch the videos on a timed-basis from an Alexa Routine for elderly relatives. (USA)"
  • "As a hobby, I have an idea I am developing with the inspiration from a clever 89 year old guy called Neil, and I also have a friend who is a professor who is into Music therapy. The idea to help dementia patients at home or in a care home to trigger their old memories to cheer them up. (Australia)"
  • "I recently bought to my mother a new Echo Show 15 and she tried to watch the videos. (Germany)"

This is how we discovered that My Video skill could be used for dementia sufferers to help them remember their family members. Frank Engelman's very inspiring blog post

What it does

The My Video Alexa skill can play videos on Echo devices with screen from your Dropbox account:

  • organize videos into playlists (subfolders)
  • play a video by name or play all videos from folder continuously
  • stop, pause, resume, play, start over
  • fast-forward, rewind
  • voice and touch navigation through the list of videos

Custom Task with Alexa routines integration: create Alexa routines that can start playing different videos or even video playlists by name. Easy to manage , easy to use.

How we built it

AWS Lambda hosted skill, APL (Alexa Presentation Language), AWS DynamoDB, Dropbox API.

Challenges we ran into

Translation to multiple languages. Even though Standard built-in intents not always work as expected for some languages. We had to tweak some of those intents by adding extra utterances.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Integration with Custom Tasks made user's experience nicer and easier.

What we learned

Pay constant attention to user's feedback. Be ready to adjust (sometimes completely change) your initial hypothesis.

What's next for My Video

The skill is constantly evolving, thanks to our customers.

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