Voice-activated technology is on the rise in our homes and making our lives easier. The natural progression is that we bring it into our offices as well. Amazon is a big player in the voice technology arena and have recently upped their game with the announcement of Alexa for Business, a multifaceted voice assistant for the office. Alexa will help with anything from starting a conference, to sorting and simplifying large datasets.
Your own personal assistant
Bing revealed last year their most searched marketing term in 2016 was ‘Personal Assistants/Intelligent Assistants’. Personal assistants are a clear priority for marketers, with advances in virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Siri and Google Assistant.
Alexa for Business’ biggest selling point is its ability to act as a personal assistant. Imagine a workplace in which every employee had their own PA. Organisation and communication across the office could become streamlined and personalised to meet the needs of the individual and the company.
Some examples of what Alexa for Business does includes:
- Manage your schedule
- Set reminders
- Dial into conference calls
- Make phone calls on your behalf
- Collect and present information, for example, the latest sales data
Simplify conference rooms
Conference calls have long been a pain point for businesses. How many times have you tried to start or join a conference call and had to go through all the different steps of connecting the phone, the laptop and the camera? Then one of them doesn’t work and someone has a meltdown. It can all be a bit of a nightmare.
One of the ideas of Alexa for Business is that you’d walk into a conference room and ask Alexa to start the meeting. Alexa would then simultaneously connect all the different conference technologies. Easy-peasy.
At the end of November when Alexa for Business was announced, Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels declared, “You no longer ever have to dial in a conference ID… say ‘Alexa, start the meeting.’”
Voice technologies, such as Alexa for Business work with advanced AI systems, like natural language processing (NLP). This integrates with enterprise systems and users can then (with more accuracy) draw upon the pool of business data available.
The more employees talk to Alexa within the office, the more she learns. Machine learning algorithms and recommender engines collate the vocal information, enabling them to understand the questions or prompts more consistently.
The way in which data is recorded can be simplified as well, with the potential to skip tedious data entry by hand.
Handle Mundane Admin Tasks
Think of all the small tasks you’re required to do in the office daily that distracts you from your important work. This is where Alexa for Business comes in – more than a personal assistant, she’s a time saver and time optimiser. Forget the routine admin tasks, Alexa will do them for you.
With voice-activated commands as an option, do more with your time. Whilst your attention is devoted to one task, stay on screen and avoid the alt+tab combo. Instead of switching or breaking your focus, just ask Alexa to set calendar appointments whilst still working.
Do you have stock or inventory that is running low? Alexa for Business could order those for you. She could also record meeting notes and book your business travel.
Alexa Skills for Business
Alexa for Business allows companies to build custom skills using the Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa for Business APIs. An Alexa skill can be downloaded like an app to add capabilities to your Amazon device. The Alexa for Business APIs also allows you to add context to your skill, for example, automating a skill to start a call in particular meeting rooms. Developing skills present your business with both internal and external opportunities.
Want to publish the skills to the public or privately? You have the choice to make the skills available only to users in the enterprise account, or available to download in the Alexa Skills Store.
See what’s possible:
- Salesforce built a skill that enables customers to access Einstein analytics and insights via Alexa.
- Polycom created a skill that allows Alexa to start a conference using its equipment and software.
- Astro Technology have made a skill that acts as an intelligent email assistant. It can read, manage and reply to emails.
The Wrap Up
With its ability to work as both a personal assistant and data management tool, Alexa for Business can make a difference in the office environment, both at a macro level for the company and at a micro level for the employee. As the technology develops and integrates with A.I. and machine learning – the possibilities for Alexa for Business are endless.
If you’re interested in creating a custom skill for your business, 4mation can help. Contact us to discover what our team can do for you.