Alexa for Business

What is Alexa for Business?

Alexa for Business is a service by Amazon that uses regular Amazon Echo devices to deliver an Alexa-based assistant experience but with the underpinnings changed in such way that it suits an office environment. A key difference is in the security where much information would require prior user authentication, whereas the private Alexa version would discern users based on voice or optionally a PIN before it lets you purchase something.

Amazon says that Alexa for Business really has three major use cases:

1. Use in meeting rooms

Amazon sees Alexa as a great way to facilitate meetings leveraging many of the Echo devices built-in hardware. Example include:

  • Finding meeting rooms based on their vacancy
  • Starting online meetings by 'remote controlling' conference room equipment
  • Transcribe or even interpret meetings

Such use cases require a deep integration into a companies' calendaring and even online meeting software as well as interfaces with conference hardware like phones and video screens.

2. Use for employees

This is where Amazon both pictures Alexa devices to be placed on employees' desks to join meetings or draw on Alexa's help with completing tasks or answering questions. But it also allows employees to enrol their private Echo devices into the business environment, so employees can securely access corporate information, join meetings, etc. from their kitchen or home office.

3. Company skills

Amazon says it will offer "blueprints" that companies can use to rapidly create skills that let employees draw on Alexa to get help with on-boarding, general questions or countdowns to key events, like days until the end of the quarter.

This could also potentially become another channel for desktop applications. After having been broken free from desktop PCs through the advent of mobile apps, voice-based skills could just be one more way employees want to receive updates and ask questions.