WeWork, Capital One welcome Amazon's Alexa to the enterprise
- Amazon's Alexa is finding a home in the enterprise, integrating with business apps like Salesforce, Concur and ServiceNow, and integrating into facilities to create a smart workplace, as first reported by Axios and detailed on Amazon CTO Werner Vogels' blog. For example, WeWork, a provider of co-working space provider, uses Alexa to manage conference room bookings, file help tickets and receive meeting room status information. Wynn hotels and Capital One have also adopted Alexa.
- To make Alexa work in the enterprise, customers need a management layer, provided by Alexa for Business, a suite of APIs to integrate with IT applications and a concentration of voice-enabled devices in the workplace, according to Vogel.
- While Alexa already has more than 25,000 available skills, Amazon also wants companies and developers to build the private skills they need for their organization. Private skills encompass everything from receiving internal news briefings to enquiring when corporate services are available, according to Vogels.
The benefits of voice-enabled technology in businesses are well-known: Users can avoid pain stemming from app overload to seamlessly navigate technology through natural language. Rather than clicking around to find a desired app, users can simply ask devices like Alexa for assistance, as Werner notes.
Up until this point, however, Alexa has been a consumer tool. Users are quick to ask about the weather or order off shopping lists directly from the e-commerce giant, but Alexa is just starting to emerge as an office tool.
Alexa for Business, released in November, is intended to help alleviate workers from remedial tasks and integrate with applications like Microsoft Exchange, Office 365 and Google's G-Suite. Box, for example, uses Alexa to streamline conference room booking and navigation. But Amazon is hoping more companies will create private skills catering to their unique enterprise requests, moving from facilities navigation to making Alexa a business mainstay.
Embedding Alexa in businesses could be a boon for Amazon. The company is already the dominant cloud service provider with Amazon Web Services. Now, the company could take its consumer-centric tool and pivot it for the enterprise, broadly expanding its potential market.
There are security concerns that arise when implementing an "always on" device like Alexa. Consumers are already concerned about their privacy, but those same concerns for a business could pose a legal threat. However, for businesses skeptical of implementing Alexa into the workplace, have no fear: the company is working to fix the creepy laugh.
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