Last week, we reported that Microsoft would fully launch the Cortana Skills Kit and Devices SDK at Build 2017. Fast forward a week and that is exactly what has happened. The company announced the Skills Kit today.
You may remember the service was meant to roll out in preview by the end of February. Microsoft missed the deadline and has been quiet since.
The Cortana Skills Kit gives developers tools to create new apps and features for the Microsoft virtual assistant. It is a cross-platform service that will run on Android, iOS, Xbox, Windows, and any upcoming Cortana-powered hardware.
Developers use the Microsoft Bot Network to build services and bots. These can then be added to Cortana and make her more powerful and useful. Microsoft wants to be more open to outside developers in a bid of expanding Cortana’s capabilities.
The SDK is now available in public preview, although it is currently only open in the United States. Microsoft has not said when the kit will come to other regions.
Many skills are already available for Microsoft’s Cortana platform, including Domino’s Pizza, Dark Sky, iHeartRadio, OpenTable, TuneIn, Cat Facts, and more.
Build 2017 Sessions
Today and tomorrow, Microsoft is hosting special sessions at Build 2017 to show off the skills kit.
There is an introductory session happening today. This will cover the core functionality of Cortana Skills Kit and show dev’s how to create and publish content. The Azure Bot Network will be covered in a later session that shows how the developments work once published.
Finally, Microsoft will also hold sessions on May 11 and show developers how they can create voice services. By using the skills kit, dev’s can create voice-only and voice-first solutions within Cortana.