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Amazon’s Alexa Is Entering the Workplace

Every business executive wants an office assistant that can help with the everyday “grunt work.” These office assistants handle a lot of work that the busy business owner simply doesn’t have time for. Unfortunately, small businesses are working with a limited budget, making the odds of affording extra help slim to none. Can Amazon’s Alexa offer an alternative to this dilemma?

Before You Invest…
One of the first things you want to do before investing in Alexa as a virtual assistant is to consider the lack of privacy that a user gets when using it. This goes for most virtual assistants out there. Your office needs to be considerate of what they say around the virtual assistant, as you never know what it could tell other people. You could potentially create an uncomfortable situation that accomplishes the exact opposite of what you intended.

Therefore, it’s critical that you take various steps toward minimizing the trouble that a virtual assistant like Alexa could provide for your organization. Some of these steps include disabling voice shopping and enabling PIN security. You should also set up your Alexa so that only a specific voice profile can use the device. This keeps only authorized users from being understood by the device.

Alexa Manages Your Meetings
Once you’ve ironed out the privacy issues sufficiently, you can add your calendar to your Alexa so that it can help you manage appointments. To set this up, go to alexa.amazon.com or open up the Alexa application. Go to Settings > Calendar. Alexa has compatibility with common business suites like G Suite, Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, Office 365, and even iCloud, making it a versatile solution no matter your business’ preferred solutions. Once these have been added, you can create an event by saying, “Alexa, add an event to my calendar.” Alexa can read back your events for the day and answer any questions related to your calendar.

Alexa for Business

Amazon is capitalizing on the popularity of Echo to create a successful product with Alexa. Nowadays, Amazon issues Echo devices that have Alexa for Business built right into them. Thanks to this, business professionals can take advantage of Alexa’s new capabilities. These include:

  • Performing queries on local databases
  • Providing access to sales data
  • Checking and managing inventory
  • Ordering supplies
  • Setting reminders
  • Managing lists
  • Controlling AV equipment
  • Initiating phone calls
  • Notifying support for IT & building maintenance

Amazon has even taken their development of new technology a step further by considering enterprise-level security and management that integrates enrollment tools that can help you manage access to your critical systems. This is part of the Amazon Web Services division, and as such, organizations will have to pay for any devices separately, but the cost of management remains static according to the Alexa for Business model.

Alexa for Business is being used by several large businesses that have found a way to make it profitable for them, so the possibility is still there for your organization as well. Amazon’s power play to make the best, most efficient virtual assistant out there is being heard all throughout the industry, so it would be foolish not to at least consider the thought.

The Alexa Skills Kit
Even if someone who isn’t associated with an Alexa for Business-sponsored company can take advantage of several features built into the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Tap, to create their own personal assistant. Here are some of the apps included in the Skills Kit:

  • Conference Manager: This app is built by Vonage, and it allows your Google Calendar to tell you what your next conference call is. It can also connect you to your call by calling any of your Alexa-enabled devices. It supports many different conferencing options, including Cisco WebEx Meeting Center, Citrix GoToMeeting, and Vonage Business.
  • Scheduling Assistant: Alexa can also schedule meetings, thanks to the integration of an automated app called the FreeBusy Scheduling Assistant. It can see if a person is available and schedule a conference call for when all available parties can meet. This app also integrates with Google Calendar, Exchange, Outlook, and Office 365.
  • Email Assistant: Thanks to the productivity software developer EasilyDo, Email Assistant for Alexa can help travelers confirm reserved times by crawling through their inbox and collecting all important information for an at-a-glance look.
  • Chat Bot for Slack: Development for Slack is on the way, but third-party integration will have to suffice in the meantime. This app can update your communications and collaboration platform whenever the data needs to be updated, keeping your organization as recent as can be.
  • Edit Docs: You can create documents, sheets, and slides, as well as edit them and list your most utilized files with this app.
  • Mastermind: This app is used primarily for communications. Alexa can be connected to the user’s smartphone so that it can send and receive text messages, make calls, or view call information.

How would your business use Alexa? Let us know in the comments.

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