You often hear the phrase “Going from 0 to 1” when it comes to the accomplishment of reaching a first milestone – an initial product release, the first user, the first partner, the first sale. Here at Aiqudo, I believe our “0 to 1” moment occurred at the end of the summer in 2017 when we reached our aspirational goal of on-boarding a total of 1000 Actions. It was a special milestone for us as we had built an impressive library of actions across a broad category of apps, using simple software tools, in a relatively short time, with only a handful of devs and interns. For comparison, we were only 5 months in operation and already had one tenth the number of actions as that “premier bookseller in the cloud” company. These were not actions for games and trivia – these were high utility actions in mobile apps that were not available in other voice platforms. On top of that, we did it all without a single app developer’s help – no APIs required. That’s right, no outside help!
So how were we able to accomplish this? Quite simply, we took the information we knew about Android and Android apps and built a set of tools and techniques that allowed us to reach specific app states or execute app functions. Our initial approach provided simple record and replay mechanics allowing us to reach virtually any app state that could be reached by the user. Consequently, actions such as showing a boarding pass for an upcoming flight, locating nearby friends through social media or sending a message could be built, tested, and deployed in a matter of minutes with absolutely no programming involved! But we haven’t stopped there. We also incorporate app-specific and system-level intents whenever possible, providing even more flexibility to the action on-boarding process and our growing library of actions including those that control Alarms, Calendar, Contacts, Email, Camera, Messaging and Phone to name a few. With the recent addition of system level actions, we now offer a catalog of very useful actions for controlling various mobile device settings such as audio controls, display orientation and brightness, wifi, bluetooth, flash and speaker volume.
Our actions on-boarding process and global actions library solves the action discovery problem that we described in an earlier post. We do the heavy lifting, so all you need to say is “show my actions”, or “show my actions for Facebook” and get going! And you don’t need to register your credentials to invoke your personal actions.
Today our action library is ~4000 strong and supports 7 languages across 12 locales. Not bad for a company less than a year and a half old! We haven’t fully opened up the spigot either!
Of course, all of this would not be possible without the hard work of the Aiqudo on-boarding team whose job, among other things, is to create and maintain Actions for our reference Q Actions app as well as our partner integrations. The team continues to add new and interesting actions to the Aiqudo Action library and optimize and re-onboard actions as needed to maintain a high quality of service.
Check back with us for a follow-on post where we’ll discuss how our team maintains actions through automated testing.