Amazon announces Alexa for Business, creating a new breadth of skills useful to CEOs and their companies.

During their re:Invent convention, Amazon introduces a new platform for their Alexa business skills: Alexa for Business. Previously we discussed the benefits of Alexa to businesses before their announcement last week, along with the latest opportunity for developers, but admitted to a limited skill available. Now, a birth of possibilities has opened to businesses of all types, from simplifying your daily work process to redefining how you interact with consumers.

Optimize Your Workflow

Alexa business skills simplify everyday tasks, like changing scheduled meetings or checking inventory in the warehouse. Say, “Alexa, check my inventory” instead of logging into a desktop, pulling up the necessary application and waiting for it to load, only to determine the same outcome. It may take a few extra minutes, but those minutes turn into hours over a week; each time it interrupts your concentration on a significant project or a big presentation for the next business meeting. Alexa picks up menial tasks so you can focus on the most important

aspects of your company.

Other skills to optimize your workflow include:

  • Tracking to-do lists
  • Setting reminders
  • Automatic dial-in to conference calls
  • Finding information (e.g. latest sales data)

Enhance the Work Space

Alexa devices can be set up in different locations around your office to perform specific skills. For instance, Alexa in the conference room reduces time spent setting up video equipment. Say, “Alexa, start my meeting,” and she can dial you in, without any manual input from you or a need to verify information. She also acts as an audio conferencing device (suitable in small conference rooms) or controls necessary equipment (for larger rooms).

Looking for an open meeting room? Alexa business skills can do that too. Based on data such as device location and meeting calendars, she can direct people to available rooms. She also points employees in the right direction when prompted- such as to a coworker’s desk. Troubleshooting your desktop? Alert Alexa and she will notify IT. In addition, she can report building problems, order new supplies, track inventory level and assist with on-the-job training.

Reinvent Customer Interactions

But Alexa for Business knows that optimization in the workspace aren’t the only concerns for managers. There’s a segment of skills garnered to helping a company’s consumers as well. For example, hotels have begun experimenting with voice-activated devices in their rooms. They are able to increase the hospitality and comfort of their guests with Alexa interactions. Guests can make requests such as playing their favorite music, what restaurants are in the area, or order room service. Beyond this setting Alexa continually redefines the relationship between a business and their consumers. She can provide specific information about a product, or give support to a customer in need. The options in this area are growing and expanding, as more companies develop their own custom skills.

How to Get Started

The major benefits are laid out but there are still others to explore. A big advantage with Alexa for Business is creating skills tailoring to your specific needs, by using Alexa Skills Kit. But how do you go about this? How is it set up?

First, enroll into an Alexa for Business account. There’s a step-by-step guide for establishing your account along with setting up features mentioned above. Additionally, end users can have access to your business skills with an invitation, to fully optimize your company’s productivity. Once that’s complete, you can order necessary devices to be installed in your workplace. Devices can be placed in any location needed. Each can be assigned specific skills and given protective measures to keep from potential tampering. There will be one centralized console– allowing you to manage any device from one place. When configuring conference equipment with Alexa, simply specifying what technology and meeting applications are used. From there she can set up your meetings based off the device location, calendar info of the room, and video conferencing equipment.

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