Amazon's Alexa goes to work
The Alexa voice assistant seems to be pretty much everywhere these days – in Amazon's own Bluetooth speakers, of course, living inside fancy lamps, helping smartphone users cope with their busy lives or allowing car drivers to talk to their vehicles. Now the company's business arm has unveiled plans to get Alexa into the workplace.
The aim of Alexa for Business from Amazon Web Services is to give every employee access to the smart digital assistant, and make their work days a little easier to organize.
"Tens of millions of people already count on Alexa at home, in their cars, and on mobile devices to answer questions, provide news and information, and stay connected to friends and family," said Amazon's Peter Hill. "Alexa for Business extends the simplicity of voice control to the workplace, while adding powerful tools to help businesses deploy and manage devices, create skills, and deliver voice-first experiences in a scalable way – all backed by the AWS Cloud."
Once up and running in an office, workers can use Alexa devices to take care of tasks like setting up conference calls, controlling meeting room equipment and sending notification to the IT department if and when issues arise, scheduling team appointments, making sure the office never runs out of supplies, and more.
Alexa for Business managers and users can tap into the many thousands of public skills already created or set up company-specific skillsets just for them. Businesses are also provided with a management console that enables them to add users, assign skills and so on across the network of Alexa-enabled devices from a single point.
Amazon says that companies like Salesforce, Splunk, Cloudwatch, Twine and Zoom have already started the ball rolling. Others can join the party now, with starter kits including three Echos, two Dots and two Echo Shows priced at just under US$710 each.