|Alexa For Business - The Big Shake Up|
|Written by Alex Armstrong|
|Tuesday, 05 December 2017|
Having consolidated its dominance of the home consumer market for voices assistants, Amazon is bringing Alexa's capabilities into the enterprise market with Alexa for Business.
If you've already used Alexa, you'll appreciate some of the ways it can help with day-to-day business tasks such as schedule management - keeping track of to-do lists, and setting reminders - and finding relevant information such as latest sales data, or inventory levels in a company's warehouse. In addition Alexa can make phone calls for you and automatically dial into your conference calls.
Alexa for Business introduce a range of new skills designed specifically enable businesses to voice-enable their workplace and manage potentially "thousands" Echo devices and users. In order to do this it introduces the concept of Rooms, as explained by Kevin Crews in this video:
A room maps to a physical location where you place a shared device for end user interaction. Examples of rooms include conference rooms, lobbies, and hotel rooms. All Alexa devices in a room inherit all the skills and settings configured for that room.
The video-conference room is one is which Alexa for Business has already developed skills. You can set up your conference rooms so that Alexa can manage physical features. Users can ask Alexa to dim the lights, lower the blinds, and turn on the projector or display, using their voice. Alexa for Business can also facilitate meetings. On being given the voice instruction “Alexa, start the meeting” Alexa will automatically dial into the meeting using an Alexa device as a speaker, or using your existing video conferencing equipment. Users can end their meetings by saying, “Alexa, end the meeting.” If there is no scheduled meeting in the conference room, Alexa will prompt for the meeting information, and will start an ad hoc meeting.
Alexa for Business can use a wide range of public skills - for example it can use the Wikipedia skill to provide information - but business can create custom Alexa Skills relevant to their workplace and its practices.
Whereas there are no charges for using Alexa in a domestic setting, Alexa for Business is a pay-as-you-go service in which charges are based on the number of shared devices you register at a cost of $7 per month per device, and the number of users enrolled in your organization’s account, at a cost of $3 per month per user.
You have to wonder if this charging by user and device is a precursor to charging for domestic Alexa. It is difficult to see how Amazon is making sufficient to justify providing so much computing power.
Shared devices are managed centrally by Alexa for Business, and anyone in your organization can use them. Enrolled users can use the Alexa features and skills that they’ve already enabled on their account, as well as any private skills made available through Alexa for Business on all the devices associated with their personal Alexa account, including their devices at work, in their homes, or through the Alexa app on their mobile phones and there are no incremental charges as users add additional Alexa devices to their personal Alexa account.
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|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 December 2017 )|