Alexa, Amazon’s virtual personal assistant, is a neat piece of technology. However, how helpful is Alexa for business? Is this robotic assistant going to be useful in an office setting? And if not, would a competing robotic voice offer more assistance?
What does Alexa do?
To begin, Alexa is largely for convenience. Alexa responds quickly to the simplest and easiest of tasks. For example, do you need to know how many different islands make up The Bahamas? Alexa will respond quickly with something like, “There are 700 islands over 100,000 square miles of ocean which make up the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.”
Another helpful example can be using Alexa to stay informed. One nice command is, “Alexa, open The Toronto Star (or any news source).” This command can inform the owner of any story they about.
Alexa may respond in an accent of your choosing, and maybe even more eloquently than written here. However, simple, fact-based questions are best for Amazon’s Alexa to understand. So, if you find yourself spending too much time Googling answers to questions, Alexa may be right for your office.
How can Alexa help your business?
Alexa is also convenient because you can use the voice command device to turn on lights, lock doors, set alarms, change thermostats, and control other electronics (i.e. TVs, Gaming devices, etc.). Of course, Alexa won’t control all of these things on her own. Each device you want Alexa to have access to must be “smart”. For example, you will need to purchase smart light bulbs to use Alexa to turn off ceiling or lamp lights. If all of that convenience is not worth the extra purchases, maybe Alexa is not right for you.
Furthermore, Amazon’s smart product is able to set alarms, reminders, and calendar items. This aspect could be very helpful in an office setting, and could even phase out your secretary–short of getting you coffee of course.
Beyond the basic, “everyday” applications for the device, Amazon is beginning to market Alexa for a business setting. Recently, Amazon launched Alexa for Business. The program helps managers plug business data, records, contacts, conference information, and more into the Amazon/Alexa cloud. Once all of this data has been entered, managers can ask Alexa to perform new tasks like, “Alexa, start the meeting.” In this situation, Alexa would ready a conference call, or get video chatting services loaded with pre-set contacts.
While Amazon has much control in the world of voice-controlled artificial intelligence, Apple and Google are on Alexa’s tail. Apple has the HomePod and Google has the Google Home. Both devices are very similar to the Amazon Echo, however, no news of Business settings have surfaced with these devices.
In the coming years, more companies like Samsung will hop into the ring with these voice controlled devices. It is safe to say this is just the beginning of artificial intelligence, and just remember Alexa is always listening!
We believe one of the key functions of a great commercial contractor is giving our advice on all aspects of your office renovation or small build…including incorporating new technology. Let us know if we can assist you on your next reno project.