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Digital voice assistants in the office

Last Updated 2022/04/12

In November, Amazon announced the Alexa For Business, which brings the increasingly popular intelligent personal assistant device from your living room to your office.

While the Alexa device in your house offers an array of features that allow you to control your home as well as manage your lifestyle, the Alexa For Business provides the same functionality for commercial purposes.

In a fast-paced and continually evolving marketplace, businesses are looking to reduce the time and money spent on repetitive and tedious tasks. Whereas we are now used to multi-screen displays to assist throughout the working day, Alexa For Business introduces the voice as a more direct and efficient alternative to visual input. While there are a variety of voice assistants to choose from - Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Google Assistant - Alexa for Business is Amazon’s attempt at specifically dominating the commercial market.

Alexa For Business helps around the workplace with a similar set of features as the home version, with the addition of enabling shared and personal devices. Shared devices can provide conferencing abilities; from finding an available meeting room, turning on room lights to start the meeting as well as helping with tasks such as ordering supplies or notifying of equipment shortages. Personal devices within the workplace can be used to schedule meetings, keep track of your to-do list, make phone calls or get information quickly, such as sales data. Your Alexa can be tailored to use the features that suit your business needs, using the administration tool to set up a group of devices at a time.

Amazon have marketed this platform as an affordable alternative to a personal assistant. Alexa stands in place of a company secretary who can help run your office, organise your business tasks and even provide human resource tasks. Although the development of software has streamlined administrative duties, Amazon provides a platform to take this to the next level. Instead of logging into a piece of software and immediately accessing your to-do list for the day, you can now directly ask Alexa this as soon as you walk into your office while making your morning coffee. This example shows the technology functioning at its best by increasing working day productivity.

The Alexa For Business services has opened up the opportunity for a multitude of skills that businesses can use to be more productive. The introduction of Alexa For Business has sparked an exciting era for the technology industry and software development companies. Developers are now exploring how they can integrate Alexa with their software and how the device can enable their uses to improve the interaction with software products. This excitement is a reminder of the release of Apple’s iPhone when there was a demand and expectation for software companies to produce an app alongside their leading product.

There are arguments that Alexa is probably a costly nice-to-have in business, but it will be intriguing to see if there will be an expectation and demand for software developers to produce skills alongside their products and apps. The fundamental questions are "Will this improve business productivity?" and "Is it cost-effective?" Only time will tell, and we may see other tech companies following suit.

If you’re interested providing efficient service to customers using a powerful, cloud-based business process management system, get in touch with us today, for a free, no-obligation demonstration.

Adam Sykes