Solista Research Lab: Alexa Dev Day!

Last week, the Solista research team took part in the first Alexa Dev Day in Sydney, hosted at the Intercontinental in Double Bay. The team used the event to up skill their abilities in writing Alexa skills and AWS Lambda functions, as well as connecting with peers to get inspiration for future applications.

From this, they’ve developed their Alexa skill to feel more natural, such that they’re able to have a discussion to gain meaningful insights to their IT infrastructure using the New Relic integration. They can now open the skill and ask about:

  • The website – checking for any failures reported by New Relic Synthetics
  • Security – polls the New Relic AWS Integration to check for any failed login attempts reported by CloudTrail and then cross-references the IP address with ip-api.com to get geolocation information on a potential hacking event
  • Infrastructure – returns the name of the busiest server by memory consumption, however will be tweaked to measure on other metrics too
  • Budget – polls the New Relic AWS Integration for Budgets to return the current expenditure on AWS services

The key hurdle that was overcome on the day was getting the skill to work more as a conversation as opposed to having to constantly invoke the skill as if starting from scratch. This was accomplished through using a conversation function that ensured the shouldEndSession flag was set to false, hence telling Alexa to continue the conversation and expect further dialog.

Moving forward, the team is looking to broaden the integrations into more of our key partners’ products as well as generating summary flash briefings of environments to take care of an IT employee’s morning health checks.

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