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What SMEs need to know about Alexa for Business?

Alexa for Business has been officially rolled out by Amazon. The move to introduce the revolutionary voice assistant to the office scape rests on the bid to revamp productivity with increased efficiency and convenience. Though the various products such as the flagship Echo, Echo Dot have assisted businesses in the past, the company was primarily focused on personal use.

Now, Amazon has packed in more office oriented features in Alexa for Business, including shared devices that can be accessed by everybody in the workplace. This not only facilitates easier communication but can also take care of a number of routine office tasks – joining conference calls, ordering new paper for the printing machine and the like - in almost half the time. Most importantly, employees will also be eligible for the same benefits that were previously there, and much more.

Here is a complete guide to what every SME should know about Alexa for Business:


How does it work?

Alexa for Business comprises two categories: personal and shared devices. While shared devices are for common use and can be kept in public office spaces such as the lobby, kitchen and conference room, their personal counterparts have certain “enrolled users” in order for Alexa to execute customized tasks such as setting a reminder, managing regular lists, sending messages or making that important call to the vertical head. Personal users can have their Alexa account at home integrated with the office devices as well.


Video conferencing

Pushed as the highlight reel for the premier business product, Alexa for Business can set up a video conference call without the need to have a conference call number or a meeting ID. All that needs to be done here is synchronize the corporate calendar with the Alexa account. A simple command like ‘Alexa, start the meeting’ is all it takes to set up a call. This saves time by cutting down on certain unnecessary actions, such as having to fiddle with the device.


Conference room booking

Most organizations have a dearth of large conference rooms that can comfortably accommodate all on-job workers. With teams jostling for space in the meeting room, even small scale businesses might have to dealwith the same problem sometimes. In addition to this, with conferences often running beyond schedule and huddles forming at the last moment, it can be difficult to manage space and make sure, at the same time, every function proceeds seamlessly.

But now, with Alexa for Business, you can immediately enquire about the availability of a room and proceed to book the room in case it’s free. All you have to do is link the calendar and read/write feature with Alexa in order to set up the booking.


The console

Acting as the primary command center, the Alexa for Business console is the nucleus for the entire experience. Using this dashboard, you can manage devices and users, set up or delete skills from devices, manage video conferences, view and administer shared devices, etc. Further, you can allocate a particular room to all the shared devices, thereby marking their space within the contours of the office.

While Amazonhas provisioned different third-party apps that can boost operations, you can make customized skills and use Alexa’s APIs. Once integrated, you can restrict these skills to private business use only.

It entails a double-pronged cost structure; one for the physical Alexa device and the other constituting subscription charges that are leveled on both shared and personal devices.

Alexa for Business promises to offer a host of first-mover advantages to SMEs within the modern business dynamics that continue to take massive strides towards digitization.