Alexa for Business Review – Work in Progress?
What can Virtual Assistants do for you?
These days, voice assistants are everywhere.
The chances are that you’re already using an assistant in your personal life, to manage your smart home, play music on demand, or just get information from your smartphone. In the US alone, 77 million adults use voice assistants in their cars, while 45.7 million use them in their homes.
Now, with Alexa for Business, you can discover the benefits of having a virtual voice assistant in your office too. Alexa for Business helps you to get more done when you’re at your desk or on the go. Plus, it works with a range of familiar devices.
Alexa for Business Features
Alexa for Business is the enterprise version of the intelligent voice assistant created by Amazon. Alexa makes it easy to communicate with technology using your voice, rather than typing information into a search bar. With Alexa, you can manage devices easily, assign skills at scale, and even build your own custom voice capabilities with the Alexa Skills Kit.
Features of Alexa for Business include:
- Shared devices: Register and used shared tools in common areas around your workplace, then set up personal devices for specific users too
- Enrolled users: Let your employees access their Alexa devices at home, for work, or on the go. Invite people to join their business account, so that they’re always ready to access their intelligent tools
- Start and finish meetings through voice: Just say “Alexa start the meeting” or “End the meeting” to manage your conversations. You can also check the availability of conference rooms
- Set up conference rooms so that Alexa can manage them for you: Ask Alexa to lower the blinds, dim the lights, turn on your projector and more
- Build private skills for individual users and entire groups to extend the functionality of your voice assistant
- Automatically dial into conference calls using your device as a speaker: When you ask Alexa to start your meeting, the system will collect information from your calendar and dial in automatically
- Manage your work calendar with the Smart Scheduling Assistant from Amazon: Link your work and personal schedules and use Alexa to check appointments and availability
- Connect multiple Alexa devices for your business network using corporate WPA2, or WPA2 personal Wi-Fi networks
- Send announcements through Alexa into specific rooms throughout your organisation: Just tell your voice assistant what you want it to do, through the Alexa for Business Console
Alexa for Business Benefits
Alexa for Business makes managing your day-to-day activities easier with the simplicity of voice. Just like your assistants at home, Alexa for Business can answer crucial questions for your employees, complete tasks, and streamline your schedule. With Alexa for Business, companies can access:
- Immersive and streamlined meeting rooms: Alexa for Business allows employees to reserve meeting rooms and start calls using their voice. It’s a great way to save time and improve the efficiency of your workflow
- More productive employees: Make sure your team doesn’t have to waste their time searching for information or tracking their to-do-list. Alexa can do everything for them, including scheduling one-on-one conferences, reminding people of upcoming meetings and more
- A new way to connect with applications: Voice gives employees an easier and more intuitive way to access their applications. Through Alexa for Business, IT teams can add voice interfaces to crucial applications like Salesforce and other apps too!
- Intuitive control and management: Alexa for Business helps admin leaders to provision and manage devices throughout their organisation from a central console. IT teams can easily handle multiple devices at the same time. You can even set up CloudWatch alarms to let you know when devices get unplugged
Target Market & Regional Availability
Alexa for Business is available in the US East and supports devices running throughout the US. For developers hoping to build on the Alexa for business functionality, there’s an Alexa Skills kit and range of APIs available too.
How to Buy & Pricing
Amazon offers Alexa for Business as a pay-as-you-go service with no up-front fees or long-term commitments. Your charges will be based on the number of devices you register on the system, and the number of users enrolled in your organisation. Shared devices will be managed centrally in your Alexa for Business Console.
Alexa for Business brings the convenience and efficiency of voice control into your business environment. If you’re looking for a way to streamline meetings, empower your employees and boost the workflow in your organisation, then Alexa could give you everything you need.
Q: How do I get started?
A: Begin using Alexa for Business by setting up an AWS account and accessing your Alexa device. You’ll need to go into your console and click on “Alexa for Business.”
Q: What devices can I use?
A: Alexa for Business works with the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Polycom Trio, Echo Show, Echo Spot, Echo Plus, and any other Alexa-enabled device
Q: Is there a public API?
A: Yes, Amazon offers public APIs for Alexa for Business which you can use to manage and create rooms, users, skill groups and devices.