“Alexa! Wake me up in the morning” has become one of the most common voice commands in many houses.

The people have steadily realized that Alexa deserves a place in their family trees; however, Alexa is a double-edged knife, and we got to explore the other side— the use of Alexa in business.

But before we dive further to discuss the nitty-gritty of it, we shall look at the timeline which established the reality of Alexa.

It all started in 1972 when Magnavox launched the first console home video game— “Magnavox Odyssey.”

Started what?

It was the beginning of our interaction with the system through the interaction channel— console— the channel which used predefined syntax.

It’s been close to five decades now, and our interaction channel with the systems has leaped to the fifth generation.

The console channel evolved into GUI— with the introduction of desktops, the GUI medium made way for web applications— to further accommodate the emergence of smartphones, there was a paradigm shift towards the mobile apps— and at the current stage, we are interacting with the system through our voices.

  • To strengthen the claims, more than 40% of adults use voice command at least once in a day. [1]

  • With the interacting channel evolving every decade, it’s expected that by 2050, voice

  • commands will handle more than 50% of searches.

  • Out of all the smart speakers, Alexa covers 31.1% of the market customers— almost 1.5x times the combination of the other smart speakers such as Alibaba and Xiomi.

Having such remarkable numbers by its side, the world is slowly preparing itself for the business utilities of Alexa, and by the time we reach to the advanced interacting channel, Alexa will lead the charge for voice-based devices— in and out of business.

So, what makes Alexa a smart candidate for your business?

Alexa for business with voice capabilities may have a significant impact on the overall organization.

Irrespective of the business— whether you are in an academic profession, hospitality, or facilitating service for your clients— Alexa can be of great help.

It somehow brings the much needed natural language interface which simplifies several cumbersome tasks and assists in combating complex situations.

Let’s go through a variety of use cases where Alexa can change the dimensions of the organization.

Converting dull workplaces into the smarter one

Do you ever feel like meetings are the most productive ways of becoming unproductive?
You look for the meeting rooms, look up to the schedules of other employees, try to align all the members at the same time— be it overseas or the in-house, and end of the day— you realize that you have wasted more time than you should.

One of the researches by the online meeting service provider— Fuze revealed that more than 37 billion dollars are spent on the unproductive meetings. [4]

Having organized a meeting, you realize that the meeting room doesn’t have conferencing equipment, and you fritter some more time in arranging them— and that’s frustrating.

As scheduling and setting up meetings are complicated and as we squander our time and money, are we going off well with it?

I don’t think so as long as we don’t place Alexa in our working environments.

Alexa taking the command: With Alexa into the workplace, you can transform the dull workplace into an active and smart one.

You can simply place the device in your meeting room and connect it with the calendaring and conferencing software like Office 365 and Polycom Series respectively.

By radioing some quirky commands, you can fasten your meeting process.
Look for the meeting room: By merely asking “Alexa, is the meeting room free,” you can check the availability of any room. For a detailed search, you can ask “Alexa, is the room available at 5 pm.”

Find out who reserved the room: If you are curious to know about the person who booked the room, you can ask “Alexa, who reserved the room,” and later contact the person for altering his schedule.

Book the room: When you get the free room, you can order the tiny device to reserve the place for your meeting by commanding “Alexa, book the conference.”

Infiltrate into a conference: You can use Alexa device as a phone speaker or Video conferencing controller and infiltrate in any meeting by calling out “Alexa, start the meeting,” or “Alexa, join the meeting.”

Cease the meeting: Akin to joining the conference, you can end it by instructing “Alexa, end the meeting.”

Extend the meeting: Amidst the meeting, if you want to extend the reservation, you can request by saying “Alexa, Extend the meeting.”

Extended Service: Meeting is just a simple use case. We can deploy Alexa all over the office to have a better interaction.

  • Retaining the employees despite reaping the productive hours

Do you often curse your own workforce because you thrive to maintain their productivity and fail?

And it’s disgusting to talk about new employees because when it comes to them, your management skills are tested at another level.

That’s because onboarding recruits need precise strategies where you have to update the employees regarding your organization, bring in all the employees on the common interaction platform, help them learn about the kind of tools they will get equipped with, etc.

You spend time in explaining the series of things in a company only to discover that they might ditch you and your organization in the coming year.

Also Read: 15 Unexpected Ways AI Can Make Your Life Automatically Better

As weak on-boarding or lack of on-boarding strategies kill your’s and your newly enrolled staff’s productivity, you blow up more money to get everything back to the track.

But the fact is— your poor on-boarding push might entice the employee to abandon your job, and you will have to spend 21% of the employee’s annual salary for getting a perfect replacement.

So, does having an on-boarding process enough for any organization?

Well, I don’t second with that because for pushing the limits of on-boarding, we need devices like Alexa.

Alexa taking the command: Considering Alexa as your important on-boarding device, you can change the mindset of your employees and retain them.

You can ask the new and existing employees to connect to the Alexa for your business organization.

It means that all the members of the company get the opportunity to interact on the same channel.

So, by inviting them to join your channel, you can actually avail accessibility to several features of Alexa.

Setting private skills: Alexa is not an embedded system. You can enable the capabilities of your device and assign these skills to any employee. You also have the power to set up Microsoft exchange access and link with Alexa so that the enrolled users can request Alexa for the upcoming events and add other events in the calendar.

Discovering the private skills: By offering them to connect with your channel, you can help them find out their powers with certain skills.

Enabling the private skills: By inviting them to join the Alexa medium, you can empower them with specific skills like “joining the meeting from home,” “scheduling the meeting at the office,” etc. They will have to use Echo-family devices and your default conferencing tools to become a part of the meeting.

Barring from essential skills: You can restrict them from performing important tasks like “calling off the meeting,” or “extending the meeting” by the voice-restriction module in the device.

Accessibility of the applications: By linking them with the Alexa for business, you can also grant access to corporate applications.

Retaining the employees: Basically, Alexa can help nourish the roles of the employees. They may keep the Alexa on their private desks and carry on with the office work, or they may dial a phone across the office without having to dial or remember any number. As Alexa improves the productivity of employees by making the corporate skills and services readily available, there’s a high possibility of a successful onboarding period. The successful onboarding period improves productivity, takes the employees in confidence, and let them stick to your organization.

Extended Service: You can add and remove any user from the Alexa platform.

No more “you have dialed the wrong number.”

Is it too difficult for you to mug up all the numbers? Do you often misdial the office security instead of the helpdesk or do you mess up the conference by calling the wrong number?

Well, that’s not just your problem— even we feel lost when we have to skim through the list of the numbers only to realize that we have dialed the wrong person.
With poor conference calls costing up to 34 billion dollars each year (taking productivity and time in account), attending or calling the wrong person aggravates the condition and adds on to our unproductivity.

Moreover, an average conference call wastes around 15 minutes— thanks to the technical faults and distractions.

So, the question is legitimate— how long are we willing to invest in the wrong calls?
As Alexa for business presents a new age interaction, I’d say “Not anymore.”

Alexa taking the command: Treating Alexa as your calling device, you can now call the right person at the right time without having to stash any number in your brain.
For calling a number from your shared devices, you will have to create an address book and assign it to the device.

Let’s check how quick voice-capabilities make it easier for you to call and interact.

Calling by name: You can call out any name loudly to talk. For example— “Alexa, call the helpdesk ” or “Alexa, call the manager” will help you to connect with the instructed person.

Calling by number: You can also say the numbers loudly like “Alexa, call 245-666-0122,” and communicate with the number holder.

Unfortunately, Alexa doesn’t provide you the option to add, edit, or delete the number by voice-command.

You will have to do them manually by configuring the system and linking it to your phonebook.

Alexa will become a complete package when it allows you to add, update, and remove the contact by your voice-command; and by looking at its pace, it might be at the next door.

Extended Feature: By interlinking Alexa with the Cisco System (the conferencing system), you can effectuate your conference calls.

  • Provisioning the usage report

How many tools in your organization report about themselves? Do the IT admins of your company find it extremely difficult to trace and supervise each device mounted?

As it’s been one of the challenging issues faced by any organization, most of them don’t have a centralized console to get an elevated view of any tool.

The organizations who plan to walk without a central supervising console can’t go distances.

They will fail to gather important reports which otherwise allow them to prepare better strategies.

Moreover, in the desperate attempt to get the reports, some organizations use all the tools at disposal without due diligence.

That again doesn’t go well with the logic and rationality as they spend millions to collect unimportant data.

So, do you think Alexa can be useful in the given circumstance?
In my honest opinion, nothing beats Alexa when it comes to reporting about the self-activities.

Alexa taking the command: Alexa for business helps in supervising all the Alexa devices installed in a company.

With the centralized supervision console, the admins of the organization can take a close look at all the devices simultaneously and add these devices in the Alexa for the business account.

With this, the admins also have the power to monitor the status and usage of the devices and take necessary steps while they are not working correctly or are unplugged.

Let’s brief out how usage report arms admin with special privileges.

  • Any invokes on the shared devices
  • Meetings connected with the help of it
  • Private action of invokes
  • The number of actively enrolled members
  • The invokes generated by Alexa on the shared devices
  • Daily report on the number of actively enrolled members of Alexa for Business
  • The stats on meetings connected on the shared devices
  • The number of auto-joined meetings
  • The details on the use by room name on all the shared devices
  • Report regarding the meetings connected by room name on each shared device
  • The exact number of private skill invokes raised on the shared devices The best five invoke actions on the shared devices
  • The best 25 invokes made using Alexa on the shared devices

As Alexa has so much to report, the admin panel in the organization can link Alexa with the alarm which notifies concerning the problems in any device.

Hence, the organizations which resort to umpteen numbers of reporting tools get a unique solution to improve the internal interaction without hampering productivity.
The reports are generated in .csv extension, and you also get a comprehensive visual view in HTML reports.

You may also train Alexa for business to hand over the report daily or weekly based on your requirement.

Extended Feature: Alexa for business doesn’t halt at reporting about the activities of its Echo-family. It can also be utilized for extracting important reports of your website.

The downside of Alexa for business

Although Amazon is doing wonders in shaping these beautiful Echo-devices, the technology is giving some growing pains to the business because it takes courage to afford the devices which aren’t very precise and are susceptible of chipping in some significant errors.

But as the stature of Amazon has grown in the market in the past decade, it’s likely that we’d get all the accuracy which we crave, and once the infrastructure behind the scenes improves, Alexa for business will become omnipresent like laptops and smartphones.

So, have you got your Alexa for business yet? How do you use it for your business? Where do you think will it stand in the years to come? Let’s know about it.

Technology for Business, You Need to Know