Amazon Web Services, the business subsidiary of e-commerce giant Amazon, has revealed a new initiative to bring their AI bot, Alexa, to offices. The company foresees the use of the virtual assistant helping employees launch conference calls, book meeting rooms, and even resolve expense related disputes.
With the new offering, aptly called Alexa For Business, businesses will be given all the tools to manage a series of devices that are Alexa-enabled. Admin users will be able to perform functions like enroll users and enable or disable skills. They can also connect Alexa to the conferencing equipment of their organization. In addition, admin users will be able to develop their own applications for Alexa, where Amazon will suggest functions like directing people within their office, reporting equipment damages, or problems and place new order for supplies. Furthermore, users will also be able to access their office devices from home and can even join meetings remotely.
This is a whole new opportunity for Alexa, and Amazon is surely to cash in. Alexa was launched in 2014, and it started a new age of voice-activated devices for home use. This market already has competitors like Google and Apple, which is developing a product called HomePod. However, Amazon has already leapt ahead of its competition by launching a series of Alexa devices which include touch screen devices for kitchen and bedroom. The company has not disclosed the number of units it has sold, but sources have indicated a rough estimate of 11 million units of Echo devices worldwide.
Speaking on this occasion, CTO Werner Vogels indicated that voice interface is going to be the future of computer interfaces. Vogels said, “It’s a natural way of interacting with your systems. You ask your environment to give you the right answer.”
Amazon is also collaborating with other companies like SAP SuccessFactors, Concur Solutions, and Salesforce to develop their own set of tools for Alexa.