AWS announces ‘Alexa for business’

Voice-over: An Amazon Alexa device is switched on for a demonstration of its use.   | Photo Credit: AP

Amazon’s cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS), on Thursday announced the availability of its artificial intelligence (AI) assistant Alexa for workplace.

This will allow employees to use voice commands to execute tasks like starting conference calls and managing meetings.

“We have been thinking that if voice is a natural way of interacting in home and home automation... why don’t we build something that one can use at work as well,” said Werner Vogels, Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer, while announcing the service.

Amazon had introduced Echo range of speakers that come with Alexa built in three years back in the U.S. Users can to talk to the speaker to carry out tasks such as playing music or setting reminders. Echo was introduced in India earlier this year.

“... the launch of all the Echo has been of great help for us to really understand how people want to use voice. If you look at these devices, they themselves are actually not that terribly smart... All the smartness of these devices lives in the cloud, in the Alexa Voice Service,” Dr Vogels said.

He said Alexa voice service was not unique to Echo and anybody could integrate it into any device they had.

On Alexa for Business, he explained that it was a fully managed service for managing Alexa devices at workplace. “You no longer have to dial in a conference ID... Just say ‘Alexa, start the meeting’.”

Unlocking digital system

“On receiving the command, Alexa will turn on the video conferencing equipment, dial into the conference call and get the meeting going. Voice represents the next major disruption in computing…It unlocks digital system for everyone,” Dr. Vogels said. Popular hotel chain Wynn is in the process of implementing this service in their rooms, wherein there guests can talk to Alexa to switch on the TV, lower the shades or call room service. (The writer was in Las Vegas at the invitation of Amazon)

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 2:29:34 AM |

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