Amazon is bringing its AI-enabled voice assistant Alexa from the home to the office, announcing the launch of Alexa for Business.
Speaking at the announcement of the service at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, CTO Verner Vogels said, “voice represents the next major disruption in computing.”
Alexa for Business is a new AWS service that “provides every employee with an intelligent assistant to simplify their interactions with the technology around them at work.”
Responding to voice commands, Alexa for Business can help automate tasks like starting conference calls, controlling conference room equipment, scheduling meetings, keeping track of tasks, or reordering supplies.
Alexa for Business also supports a large and growing list of new skills and integrations from companies like Salesforce, Concur, and Polycom that extend Alexa for Business’s functionality into the popular applications and devices customers already use in the workplace.
For example, Alexa will be able to respond to the request, “Alexa, ask Salesforce for the current status of my team’s big deals scheduled to close this quarter” or “Alexa, ask SuccessFactors to file paid time off for November 28 and 29, 2017.”
Companies can also tailor Alexa for Business by building custom “private” skills that integrate with a customer’s IT applications and office systems.
“Tens of millions of people already count on Alexa at home, in their cars, and on mobile devices to answer questions, provide news and information, and stay connected to friends and family,” said Peter Hill, Director, Productivity Applications, AWS.
“Alexa for Business extends the simplicity of voice control to the workplace, while adding powerful tools to help businesses deploy and manage devices, create skills, and deliver voice-first experiences in a scalable way—all backed by the AWS Cloud.”
Customers in the US can bring Alexa to their workplace but Australians will have to wait. Amazon confirmed yesterday Alexa is coming to Australia early next year.
Capital One, Brooks Brothers, and WeWork are among the customers already using Alexa for Business.
At Brooks Brothers, Alexa is used to simplify our conference room meetings.
“Alexa takes care of all the details by allowing us to begin meetings with the simple voice command, ‘Alexa, start the meeting.’ Not only does Alexa for Business make it easy for me to provision and manage Echo devices throughout my office, but also configure them to work with Amazon Chime and my existing conference room AV/VC equipment,” said Philip Miller, CISO, Brooks Brothers.