thoughts / Using voice assistants at work, how?

How long before this technology hits our office desks?

With Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home dominating the home assistant market with Amazon leading the way after a rumoured thirty million devices sold globally over the festive period, exceeding even amazon expectations.

With the rise of home assistants, it was not going to be long before this technology was going to hit our office desks. Back in November Amazon announced the launch for Alexa for Business at their annual developer AWS Invent event in Las Vegas.

So how do you use Alexa within your business? We put together a quick video explaining how Alexa can work without your business.

At your desk

Up to 40% of worker productivity is lost due to ‘multi-tasking’. The human brain works at its best when performing tasks one at a time, in fact, it cannot multi-task, what people do is switch tasks which is what slows down effectiveness in the completion of your tasks. Our current working cultures makes this a difficult approach to follow, but voice assistants can be used to minimise the distraction of dipping in and out of different things during our day. With VAs (voice assistants), you can perform distracting tasks quickly and simply through a conversational interface.

Set a reminder, dial into your conference call, leave a colleague a message or retrieve complex business data in a sentence. These are things people do many times a day and can now be handled within seconds through a voice interface, increasing the time people can spend on the task at hand.

Around your workspace

Passive tasks around the office rely on requesting from others in your company; this can be both distracting and inconvenient, people are in meetings, in a task or on lunch, your request has to wait or gets lost.

Imagine if you could talk to your building or office space, arriving first thing in the morning, being able to ask where the best place to park is rather than circling multi-story parking stations trying to find a free bay. Finding a meeting room that is free or finding out if a colleague is available for conversation.

Everyone gets annoyed about a broken toilet or overflowing bin; people rarely report these issues because the process can be a hassle. What if you could say to a voice point at your desk or in a communal area ‘the bin on floor three by the kitchen needs emptying’, these tasks would get resolved much faster and passively.

Back-office systems

Getting the information from internal systems when needed can be hard work, normally hidden within the last row of a spreadsheet or twenty clicks into the quarterly report.

This data can be exposed through a voice assistant but also provide the interface to gain further detailed information through conversation filtering. Imagine you want to know how today’s sales are performing, you can return that information but then have the ability to filter, expand and overlay different data from other systems, giving you the ability to retrieve complex data conversationally and without the need of a BA to run you a report.

Conversational interfaces exist in many cloud-based tools from Salesforces to Office 365, your data is there ready to be communicated with.

The voice assistant device market has grown massively over the last year with devices as cost-effective as the Amazon Dot and Google home mini at £35 (when on sale), to the 7 inch screened Amazon Echo show, providing an on desk executive assistant experience.