Amazon Alexa for business is coming to your office in a big way

Amazon expands Alexa to reach all corners of the workplace

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Amazon is hoping to bring its Alexa smart assistant to the workplace with the announcement that Alexa for Business is moving to third-party devices.

Alexa for Business is a paid-for service that let companies build scalable voice experiences for their companies. The idea is that Alexa can handle the likes of basic receptionist or intern duties, such as booking rooms or scheduling meetings. Currently, Amazon’s assistant is only linked to official Amazon devices, meaning companies need to bring an Amazon Echo into the meeting room to really make Alexa useful.

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Now, though, Amazon is opening Alexa up to other manufacturers, expanding its ability to be used in the workplace. Now Alexa can be integrated into conference call headsets, the office printer, perhaps even the office coffee machine if you’d like to get one sorted on your way to a meeting.

“The ability to create Alexa built-in products for the enterprise represents a significant opportunity for device makers,” added Pete Thompson, VP of the Alexa Voice Service. “With a simple extension to the AVS Device SDK, device makers can address the growing demand for voice in organizations and deliver new voice-based solutions that simplify tasks and enhance productivity.”

In Amazon’s announcement, it was revealed that the ecommerce giant is working with many business device manufacturers like Plantronics, iHome and BlackBerry, as well as solution providers Linkplay and Extron.

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In many ways this move to other, non-Amazon, devices is simply an extension of Amazon’s drive to move Alexa to new devices, such as an Alexa-powered microwave or third-party speakers by the likes of Sonos.

With many companies already using Amazon Web Services for much of their business, a move to plug Alexa’s voice services into the company probably isn’t an unattractive prospect. In the business space, Microsoft’s Cortana hasn’t made much traction and Google Assistant is still, very much, a consumer product and tool instead of a business one.

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