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Amazon.com is all ready to give Apple’s Siri a run for its money as the giant has finally made available the technology powering Alexa, its voice assistant, to help developers build innovative chat features into their own apps. The easy-to-use, cost effective service, is called Amazon Lex, and it has been in the preview phase since late last year.

A service for building conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text, Amazon Lex provides the advanced deep learning functionalities of automatic speech recognition (ASR) for converting speech to text, and natural language understanding (NLU) to recognize the intent of the text. This enables developers all around the world to build applications that offer lifelike conversational interactions and phenomenally engaging user experiences.

Amazon Lex allows developers to build, test, and deploy their own conversational assistants, famously known as “chatbots,” directly from the Amazon Lex console. Further, they can easily publish their voice or text chatbots directly to mobile devices, web apps, and chat services such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Twilio SMS. Once published, the user’s Amazon Lex bot processes voice or text input in conversation with its end-users. Since it is a fully managed service, one doesn’t have to sweat over provisioning hardware or managing infrastructure to power the bot experience when the user engagement increases.

Amazon Lex is a step towards Amazon’s vision of a day when people could simply use their voice to control almost any piece of software on planet Earth. Industry experts have also backed Amazon’s vision and believe that voice would indeed be a significant part of the computer interface of the future, and whoever would own voice will also be the gateway of commerce.

This is the reason that the ecommerce giant is trying its best to emerge on the top of the voice-controlled computing game, after losing out to Apple and Google in mobile. In fact, Amazon’s headway in processing how human beings speak and write would help in making chatbots more helpful than the technologically ancient tools that developers have currently been using.

With Amazon Lex, Amazon had made available the same deep learning technologies that power Amazon Alexa to any developer, enabling them to easily and quickly build sophisticated, natural language chatbots.

Since Amazon Lex is running as a service in the cloud instead of in a user’s own data center or on their own desktop, it makes it easier to make it better continuously by the millions of customers that are making use of it.

It is important to understand here that speech recognition and natural language understanding are considered two of the most difficult problems to solve in computer science. They require sophisticated deep learning algorithms in order to be trained on massive amounts of data and infrastructure. Amazon Lex has solved this problem by democratising these deep learning technologies and gifting every developer in the world with the power of Amazon Alexa. The new chatbot tool enables a developer to define entirely new, fresh categories of products that have been made possible through conversational interfaces.

Amazon Lex also provides built-in integration with the AWS platform that gives one the power of the AWS platform for security, monitoring, user authentication, business logic, storage and mobile app development.

The service is extremely cost-effective to use as there are absolutely no upfront commitments or minimum fees, one pays only for what they use. With the Amazon Lex free tier, one can easily give Amazon Lex a try without any initial investment.

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