Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant is best known for being the brains of your smart home. But Amazon wants Alexa to be more than your home assistant, so this week the company’s business subsidiary, Amazon Web Services announced Alexa for Business.
Amazon hopes employees will soon take to using Alexa at the office to launch conference calls, organize room bookings, check flight details and more by using simple voice commands.
Alexa for Business is the latest extension of Amazon’s popular product, which is currently powering Echo speakers, cameras, thermostats and other smart products that have been typically used within the home. Certainly, bringing Alexa into the corporate environment will pose numerous challenges like IT management of devices and security issues, but if Amazon succeeds in taking over the enterprise sector it could stand to gain immensely.
Alexa for business supports an extensive list of new skills and integration from popular enterprise firms like Salesforce, Concur Solutions, SAP SuccessFactors, Splunk, Acumatica, Teem, Twine and Polycom with the aim to extend the virtual assistant’s functionality to suit the work environment. For example, employees can say things like “Alexa, ask Salesforce for the current status of my team’s big deals scheduled to close this quarter” or “Alexa, ask Concur when my flight leaves.“
What’s more, companies can even build their own custom skills that integrate with their own IT applications and office system. Customers can also set up shared Alexa devices in common areas in the workspace such as conference rooms, huddle rooms, lobbies and more.
Customers in the US can already bring Alexa at the office by purchasing the Alexa for Business Starter Kit. Each kit includes 3 x Echo (2nd generation) devices to be used in conference rooms, 2 x Echo Dots (2nd generation) for controlling equipment in large conference rooms and 2 x Echo Show devices for desktop use. An Alexa Business kit will set buyers back with $709