Amazon launches Alexa for Business platform – voice services to the office
At the most recent AWS re:Invent conference Amazon announced the launched Alexa for Business. This is a fully managed service targeted at companies by allowing them to deploy Echo devices at scale throughout the workplace. The service will provided improved meeting experiences with a focus on communication and collaboration.
Alexa for Business has (and will have) a strong ecosystem with: Cisco, Zoom and Polycom (with their in-room conferencing systems), RingCentral (for its cloud-based voice services), Microsoft (for Office 365 and on-premises Exchange servers), and Google.
For example, the RingCentral Meetings for Alexa for Business integration is an example of how voice control will play in the conference room. Users will be able to ask Alexa to launch scheduled meetings. The Amazon for Business management service will map Echo devices to RingCentral Rooms systems for the assignment of Alexa Skills.
The AWS system can respond when you say “Alexa, join my meeting.” The platform will also include Salesforce to answer questions about business performance, Concur to share business travel information, RingCentral for voicemail readings, SAP SuccessFactors for HR, and other third-party voice services for the enterprise.
For voice-based commands outside the meeting room, RingCentral is integrating Alexa Skills with its communications app so that users will be able to ask Alexa to do things like play back and respond to voicemails; send and check SMS messages; and place outbound calls.
Besides being able to configure conference room settings, a company’s technical department will be able to use the Alexa for Business service to do things like provision and manage shared Alexa devices, enable Alexa skills on an individual user and user group basis, and build custom skills through Amazon for Business APIs.
AWS will likely present more at Enterprise Connect 2018 in Orlando this March. Stay tuned, things are starting to get interesting in the Voice space…