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Here’s How Alexa Can Help You Run Your Business Better

alexa for businessImage credit: Amazon

Did you know that the average worker is productive for only two hours and 53 minutes a day?

If you've worked in an office before, this stat isn't surprising. Hours tend to slip away while you’re answering emails, organizing your calendar, mumbling profanities at the printer, and waffling around with your coworkers. When you do finally sit at your desk with your fifth coffee of the day, ready to get some serious work done, you realize you’re about to be late for a meeting. Standard.

It’s not easy to be productive. But Alexa is here to help.

Alexa for business

Amazon has been pushing Alexa for Business to help organizations streamline those tedious  tasks and smarten up the workplace. Have to schedule a meeting? Ask Alexa to do it for you. Need more paper for the printer? Alexa can order some. Wondering where Mark from Sales is? Alexa can point you to the right office.

Sounds beyond convenient, so let’s take a look at what else Alexa can do around the workplace.

How you can use Alexa for Business

alexabusiness

When you set up Alexa for Business, you can either sit an Echo on individual desks for personal use or station them around the common office areas. (Although some coworkers may not want a fly on the wall while they’re smack-talking the boss.)

According to Amazon, their handy business devices have three main benefits:

Streamline everyday tasks: Alexa is a smart assistant, so you would use her as such. This means scheduling meetings, keeping track of your to-do list, setting reminders, and managing your calendar. She can also make phone calls for you and dial into your conference call. It’s like having your very own Pepper Pots.

Quick access to information: Alexa draws from corporate calendars, user accounts, and custom skills to answer all your workplace questions. Whether you need to consult the training manual, find the latest sales data, nab an empty conference room, or get directions to Phil’s cubicle. You just have to ask.

Running the workplace: Many of us already use Alexa to control our homes, so it makes sense that businesses would want to do the same. With an Echo in the conference room, Alexa can be asked to dim the lights, turn on the projector, or lower the blinds. She’s also useful in more mundane areas like the copy room, where you may need to report a problem to Maintenance or order office supplies.

What developers can do with Alexa for Business

When you sign up for Alexa for Business, you receive an Alexa Skills Kit complete with tools, documentation, and code samples so you can build custom skills for the workplace. You can post an Echo near the entrance so newcomers can ask where certain people or places are, or configure the printer room's Dot to report glitchy equipment to IT. The best part is that you can manage all Alexa devices at scale from a centralized Business console, instead of configuring each device individually. 

Another bonus for developers is the choice of using any of Alexa’s Business APIs. For example, the ResolveRoom API provides more context to an interaction by using location information, while another API allows the automation of administrative tasks and controlling conference room equipment. You’ll have plenty to play with, and you don’t have to publish them to the Alexa Skills Store.

If using voice technology for business sounds like the start of a dream, then you’re in for a treat at VOICE this July. We've got Amazon Alexa evangelists, voice-savvy CEOs, AI entrepreneurs, and so much more. There’ll be workshops, (bar crawls), hackathons, keynotes, (did we mention bar crawls?) and plenty of networking opportunities. So pack up your business cards and get your full-access pass here!

Alexa, AI, Voice Assistants

Jenny Medeiros

Written by Jenny Medeiros

Jenny is an engineer turned tech writer. She has hands-on experience in VR, AR, video game development, and UX-focused web design. Nowadays, she partners with tech companies to help people understand emerging technologies. When she's not writing, she's likely daydreaming and forgetting her tea.

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