Leeds Parking Spaces is an Amazon Alexa Skill developed by FX using Open Data to help users find the best places to park in and around Leeds city. Users can simply enable the skill and ask “where can I park?”, to find car parks with available spaces, or ask for a specific car park – “Alexa, ask Leeds Parking if I can park in Albion Street car park”.

Live data about car parking availability is provided by Leeds City Council and specifies car parks run by the council, number of available bays and total number of bays. This information is provided for free under the Open Government License and is just one example of how developers can make use of data when governments and organisations open their internal APIs up and share their data.

Wearables and Alexa Auto

Amazon have recently announced the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit, giving manufacturers the opportunity to create small and portable devices, such as smartwatches and headphones with Bluetooth Low Energy, that are able to access the Alexa Voice Service. This gives skill developers, like FX, the chance to develop voice apps that work over a large range of devices through a universal platform.

While looking at and touching screens while driving can be distracting and dangerous, Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) offer a great alternative, and good conversation design can create a hands-free phone call like experience. The upcoming Alexa Auto, being developed by Amazon in partnership with car manufacturers, will embed the smart assistant into our lives even more and creates another platform for skills like Leeds Parking.

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