Amazon is continuing to pour resources into its Alexa platform as competition heats up in the virtual assistant space. Google Assistant, Siri and others have all made a push for consumers’ dollars and attention over the last year with varying success. And while the other two major players have substantial resources with their smartphone platforms, Amazon’s ever-growing portfolio of content, wide-reaching services and retail make it a strong contender in this space.
Along with the announcement of Alexa calling and messaging on iOS and Android, Amazon appears set to introduce a new host of business-focused features. While Amazon is known as a consumer-facing company, it should come as no surprise that it has interests in the business world as well.
A report from Axios this morning offers a few details into Amazon’s business-focused plans that it claims are set to be announced today. Late last year Amazon first dipped its toes into this arena with an Alexa-focused bundle designed for the workplace.
There hasn’t been much in the way of follow-up here in the last few months and the $700 price tag could potentially be a turn-off for some business owners. It’s also difficult to know the impact this will potentially have on a business when the product itself is primarily geared towards consumers.
One way that Amazon hopes these business-focused activities will improve its Alexa platform is exposure to requests not typically found in the home. Amazon CTO explains further:
“The kind of language we use in our offices is sometimes radically different from the more conversational things we do in our (homes),” he told Axios. Alexa “will greatly improve by being exposed to different kinds of statements or conversations.”
Whether Amazon has this type of machine learning functionality built-in to its Alexa platform has yet to be seen. What we do know is that professional environments are changing rapidly. Cubicles and PC-based activities are going to the wayside as collaboration comes to the forefront. How Alexa fits into this evolving workspace has yet to be seen. But we know a few ways that Amazon hopes it will become an office cornerstone.
At the forefront is easier communication. With calling and messaging built-in to Alexa these days, Amazon sees its in-house platform as a way to talk with coworkers and avoid trips out of the office, along with emails. Voice communication breeds collaborative environments in Amazon’s eyes, and it hopes Alexa can serve as that medium.
Additionally, Amazon’s ever-growing library of Alexa skills may very well act as an important business tool in the coming years. The ability to plan events, manage tasks and find information are all strong points that may be attractive to businesses.
We’ll be sure to update this post as more information becomes available in the coming days. As for now, what do you think about Amazon’s workplace ambitions? Would you use Alexa as a part of your daily 9 to 5 job? Let us know in the comments below.