I don't need a hard disk in my computer if I can get to the server faster, carrying around these non-connected computers is byzantine by comparison
- Steve Jobs
Cloud is the main acccess point of our Alexa skill Starfish Audio. Whether it's mobile computing or desktop everyone needs the freedom of choice in terms of how they want to operate a particular device. The skill itself is not filling any gaps, as Amazon itself provides users a capability to store their music in amazon music library and play it on Alexa enabled devices. But we wanted to challenge and give users the option of another cloud provider for them to store and play their music. We also have a choice of using any bluetooth enabled devices to connect and play music, but we thought what's the use of a voice enabled device if you are still clicking screens to do what you want to do. You can learn about how to play music using Amazon music library here
So how it's all working? It's simple: everything is internet enabled and we just work like a broker to connect one device on the internet to another device. We use Microsoft OneDrive as our cloud provider and give user's the option to store their own music (.mp3 format) and then they can play their music using simple voice commands.
Above is a simple representation of what it takes to get user's music to Alexa. Obviously Alexa enabled devices is the key to everything, as this is where we want to play our music. OneDrive is in the cloud, which is our storage provider. Lambda is an Amazon cloud offering where you can write and execute your static code. Our web services are all hosted on an AWS web server. This piece is necessary to link a user to their song as it has got access to our user base as well as the cloud.
Obviously the music industry is very protective about what you can broadcast and at all times we had to be aware of copy right laws. So at no time we wanted to host or handle user's music files. This is the single reason we didn't pick Google Drive as our cloud provider. With Google we could only grab files and make them internet enabled only if we provide the user a way to upload their music file through our own website. This meant we had to handle user's music file at some point. The new generation of Microsoft api and tools though are a notch ahead from their competitors. You get 5GB of storage in one drive for just having an email and if you have a Microsoft Office license this shoots up to a magical 1TB. But for our purpose 5GB is good enough to store more than 1000 songs.
You can use our skill following the instructions here
Know and use OneDrive. I am sure you will be impressed with this Microsoft offering.