Since the Amazon Echo released the virtual assistant, Alexa, in 2014, people are increasingly integrating it in their everyday lives, using it to turn on lights in their home, make phone calls, change the temperature, play music and get the weather or latest news. Amazon has now found a way to integrate Alexa into your business life and help you out around the office.
One in six Americans, or around 39 million people, have a smart home speaker. Voice search and home bots are becoming ubiquitous, which is why we recommend businesses consider building apps (called skills) for Alexa and other devices.
Skills you should use at work
Alexa and Google Home aren’t just for the house. Businesses are finding uses for smart bots around the office, too, from assisting with online searches to taking notes and even integrating AI. Put a smart device in your office and try one of these useful skills.
- Web analytics. You no longer need to check your analytics every day to monitor traffic to your website. Ask Alexa for your analytics for a certain day or even a particular hour. The device can also fetch metrics such as average session duration and pages per session.
- Quick events. Sometimes it’s easy to think you can keep your calendar in your head, but schedules get overwhelming very quickly, and it’s easy to overbook yourself. This skill allows you to add events to your Google Calendar with one voice command. You can set date, time, length and location, so you have all of the details at your fingertips. Example: “Alexa, tell quick events to schedule a meeting at the office for 3 p.m.”
- Welto. This skill acts as a finance tracker. This skill can show your current balance and track your income versus expenses. You can even use this skill to pay bills on time, so you never have to pay another late fee.
- Intently.co. Have a leaky sink at your office? WiFi not working properly? This skill is for you. The skill has more than 1 million service professionals in a database. Tell it what you need and your location, and it will supply a list of qualified people in your area. Services include plumbers, hotels, caterers, photographers, venue services and many more.
- Shopify. If you already use Shopify with your website, take it to the next level. The app will give you information about your inventory and store performance. You can ask Shopify which orders you need to fill, which products are selling the best and access analytics.
- Expedia. Prepare for your trips by checking your flight status, booking a hotel, keeping up with your itinerary, reserving a rental car. You can even ask for packing tips!
- Time Tracker. If your team members bill by the hour, try this to track exactly how long you work for each client. The app will also alert you when you’ve been working on something for a length of time, so your day doesn’t get away from you.
- Conference Manager. Audio and video conference calls are critical to your collaboration efforts. If the next thing on your calendar is a conference call, this skill can get the information and dial the bridge number, so all you have to do is pick up the phone.
- OpenTable. Sometimes, the best way to get to know potential clients is by taking them to dinner. Request a reservation by saying the place, time and number of people, and it’ll book it and send you a confirmation email. You can also modify or cancel reservations if your plans change. Why take time to do it manually when Alexa can do it for you with a voice command?
- EditDocs. This skill allows you to edit documents with a voice command. Never forget your brilliant ideas by putting them into an existing document or create a new one. It works with Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Presentations.
- Email Assistant. Organize your inbox. This app creates a priority inbox based on people you interact with frequently. The skill reads your emails to you; you can star them, snooze them or delete them. There are a few quick replies you can say to get your reply message started.
- Intercom - Echos can record conversations and send them to other compatible devices in different rooms of your building, making them an intercom system.
Build custom apps for your business
Amazon has released a way for people who don’t code to build their own skills based on about 20 templates. The program is called Blueprints. Using the templates, owners can create fun things such as bedtime stories or games or teach Alexa to respond a certain way. Useful skills include “Babysitter” and “Pet Sitter,” which offer a rundown of information for those people.
We’re working with companies to build apps for Alexa and other smart bots that take business to a new level. For example, you can create an app that orders new product when your inventory is low, connecting you to your suppliers with a voice command. By connecting smart bots to AI, we can set up voice commands that work with your CRM, fill out forms, add to-dos to your project management program, alert you if your facility or system is failing and more.
You’re busy, regardless of whether your business is small or large. By leveraging technology, you can find ways to offload the little things and improve productivity for you and your team.