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Hey Alexa: AWS Delivers Alexa for Business

AWS promises companies their own Virtual Assistant

Hey Alexa: AWS Delivers Alexa for Business

Want a new assistant for your workplace?

Amazon Web Services are giving you the opportunity to onboard the ultimate virtual helper with Alexa for Business an offering that was introduced at AWS re:Invent in 2017. The service provides each employee in your organisation with access to their own smart assistant, perfect for simplifying interactions with technology from everyone from Polycom, to Vonage, and beyond.

In fact, Greg Pelton, the Polycom CTO joined the Las Vegas conference to showcase how customers could use Alexa for Business to control a Polycom video conference in Group Series. The natural language framework means that organisations can access the world’s first no-touch conferencing system – perfect for adding a new layer of simplicity to the meeting room.

Alexa, Start My Conference

The new Alexa for Business offering will help companies to automate repetitive tasks that they may currently spend too much time on, like setting up conference calls, scheduling meetings, and re-ordering supplies for the office. The system also offers support for a huge range of integrations from companies like Concur, Salesforce, and of course Polycom, which simplify and enhance Alexa’s functionality into devices and applications that customers already access in the workplace.

Your employees can even customise the Alexa for Business offering to suit their needs by building “private” skills that allow the virtual assistant to work alongside your office systems and IT network. The integration is actually a lot simpler than it might seem, with plenty of ways to get started and cut down the hassles that experts face every day in the business environment.

The Power of a Virtual Assistant

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

With the new business-powered Alexa, you can set up shared devices in common locations around your physical office, such as huddle rooms, conference rooms, and even lobbies, so that everyone can manage the devices as necessary. Administrators can assign skills from the management console provided by AWS, and add new users to the mix too, whenever necessary. This means that all you need to do to start a meeting is walk into a room and tell Alexa to do it for you.

The virtual assistant can automatically dial customers into their meeting room environment using the Alexa system as a speakerphone or connecting to existing video conferencing solutions within the room. Additionally, you can even tap into Alexa for Business to control room features like the lights, or surrounding technology.

If you want to keep your most valuable employees dialled in, then you can even give them an Alexa device to use from their personal desks, which will allow them to check upcoming appointments, dial into conference calls, and schedule meetings. The system works on Google G Suite, Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft Office 365.

Ongoing Integrations with Alexa for Business

UC companies from across the marketplace have already begun to recognise the power that a virtual assistant solution like Alexa could have to offer. Software providers like Concur, Salesforce, Service Now, Polycom, Crestron, Twine, RingCentral, and even Zoom are all integrating their own business applications with Alexa for Business to start developing solutions that will allow users to accomplish a wide range of tasks.

Amazon Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show

With the right tech, you’ll be able to ask your RingCentral set-up to read out your voicemail for you or ask Salesforce to give you a read-out of your current marketing statistics. Additionally, teams can also tap into the thousands of public skills that are currently available for the Alexa framework, and develop their own using the simple, but effective Alexa Skills Kit with Alexa Business APIs.

Since you can design and implement your own skills as necessary, companies can effectively create their own perfect virtual assistant, allowing their Alexa set-up to help them with everything from finding open meeting rooms, to reporting problems, and even connecting with IT when there’s an issue with a computer.


Got a comment?

1 Comment
AvatarRichard Michie 01:12, 15 Dec 2017

Echo and Google Home are fast becoming everyday objects in the home. How they will develop in the office is a very interesting point and one i’m very interested in finding an answer to.

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