Amazon’s Echo speakers are a hot property at the moment, with Alexa taking over as the best personal assistant you could hope for. Truly, the Internet of Things is really beginning to get going, and Alexa is a huge part of that for a lot of people.
Most people use Alexa and Amazon Echo for their personal lives. They get an Echo speaker or two in their homes and then ask Alexa to play music, order groceries, tell them train times and the weather, or turn on the TV. But did you know that this is just scratching the surface of what Alexa can do?
Increasingly, businesses are turning to Alexa and Echo as AI and innovation become more and more mainstream. Alexa for Business allows organizations to harness the power of Alexa as a digital assistant to get more work done and to be more productive. Amazon has packed a load more features into Alexa to allow it to function in a business environment, and the results are impressive.
So how can exactly Alexa help your business? Read on, and find out.
General and private assistants
Two pretty simple ways that Alexa can work in a business context is as a straight-up personal assistant, in much the same way as you would use your Alexa Echo at home, but for work-related tasks.
This could either mean setting up public Echo speakers in shared spaces to accomplish general tasks. Alexa, in meeting rooms, lobbies, kitchens, etc., can help check minor details, streamline presentations, make conference calls, and more. An Echo speaker in the printing room, for example, could make light work of solving any pesky printing problems without the need to get your hands covered in toner or log a request manually with IT.
Alexa can also work as a private assistant where workers are enrolled individually, and then Alexa can help book meetings, manage diaries, send messages, and so on. Tasks like time tracking by voice can make organising and billing projects far simpler, and scheduling and diary management with Alexa becomes a far smoother and simpler part of the everyday workflow process. With just a few simple commands, Alexa can read and prioritise your emails, ensuring you’ll never miss an important email or lose anything to the spam folder again.
Meetings and conference calls
Meetings and conference calls are an area where digital innovation is already taking the lead, and Alexa can make a huge difference to a successful meeting. Collaborating, booking and scheduling meetings, and ensuring that the meeting or call itself runs smoothly can all be made far easier with Echo and Alexa. On a basic level, Alexa brings everything together, corralling data and participants, simplifying what could otherwise be a complicated conference room meeting.
Amazon has expanded Alexa’s functions, so as long as you have sufficiently advanced smart tech already installed, Alexa can control projectors, presentations, lights, and blinds through only voice controls.
With video conferencing, Alexa really shines. You can sync up your digital assistant with a corporate calendar (integrating with Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, and Google G-Suite calendars), meaning Alexa takes all the complications and faff out of the meeting set-up. Simply asking Alexa to start the meeting avoids the need for meeting IDs or call numbers, bringing everyone together simply and quickly.
One of the most impressive and important aspects of Alexa is the skills and integrations its open API allows. Essentially, Amazon lets you ‘teach’ Alexa to do pretty much anything you want, meaning that as long as you have the right know-how in your IT department, the possibilities for using Alexa in a business context are essentially limitless! At VC3, we are passionate about Alexa’s potential for business use, and we have a full-time skills writer on staff, writing skills to enhance our clients’ business.
There are already 40,000 skills available to Alexa users. You can use skills to teach Alexa to read your emails, monitor websites, make calls with just a name, manage invoices, and even keep on top of analytics for a whole host of digital and business processes. Essentially if you can think it, you can probably do it. For example, at VC3, we have developed a skill that allows Alexa to read Disruption Magazine aloud, which is huge for anyone with visual impairments, or just as a timesaver!
Alexa can become a genuinely game-changing digital assistant, and Alexa for Business has streamlined the way many organisations do business. Too often, the time-consuming grind of work is taken up with simple tasks that can be automated or outsourced to AI, and Alexa allows this and so much more.
Using Alexa for business frees up precious time for you and your team to be working on more innovative, profitable tasks. Alexa can make your business more efficient and more effective and is becoming a no-brainer as more and more organisations increasingly embrace tech in their day-to-day operations. We urge you to give it a go and find out how Alexa can make your working life easier and better!