Skills give Mycroft the ability to perform a variety of functions. They can be installed or removed by the user, and can be easily updated to expand functionality. To get a good idea of what skills to build, let’s talk about the best use cases for a voice assistant, and what types of things Mycroft can do.
Mycroft can run on a variety of platforms from the Linux Desktop to our dedicated Smart Speakers, the Mark I and Mark II. Different devices will have slightly different use cases. Devices in the home are generally located in the living room or kitchen and are ideal for listening to the news, playing music, general information, using timers while cooking, checking the weather, and other similar activities that are easily accomplished hands free.
We cover a lot of the basics with our Default Skills, things like Timers, Alarms, Weather, Time and Date, and more.
We also call this General Question and Answer, and it covers all of those factual questions someone might think to ask a voice assistant. Questions like “who was the 32nd President of the United States?”, or “how tall is Eiffel Tower?” Although the Default Skills cover a great deal of questions there is room for more. There are many topics that could use a specific skill such as Science, Academics, Movie Info, TV info, and Music info, etc..
One of the biggest use cases for Smart Speakers is playing media. The reason media playback is so popular is because it makes playing a song so easy, all you have to do is say “Hey Mycroft play the Beatles,” and you can be enjoying music without having to reach for a phone or remote. Within our Defualt Skills we support Spotify and Pandora. However, it would be great if Mycroft supported as many streaming services as possible. In addition to listening to music, there are skills that handle podcasts as well.
Much like listening to music, getting the latest news with a simple voice interaction is extremely convenient. Mycroft supports multiple news feeds, and has the ability to support multiple news skills.
Another popular use case for Voice Assistants is to control Smart Home and IoT products. Within our Marketplace there are skills for Home Assistant, Wink IoT, Lifx and more, but there are many products that we do not have skill for yet. The open source community has been enthusiastically expanding Mycroft's ability to voice control all kinds of smart home products.
Voice games are becoming more and more popular, especially those that allow multiple users to play together. Trivia games are some of the most popular types of games to develop for voice assistants. There are several games already available in the Mycroft Marketplace. There is a port of the popular text adventure game Zork, a Crystal Ball game, and a Number Guessing game. When working on a game skill it might be worth creating a new Persona to be the host of your game.