Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is starting to invade the workplace. You can already ask Alexa some basic business-related questions and make requests — though, regrettably, petitioning on your behalf for a raise isn’t among them (yet).
But more Alexa skills for businesses are on the way, fueled by Amazon’s November 2017 announcement of Alexa for Business. The open API development platform, which runs on Amazon Web Services, provides the tools and controls “administrators need to deploy and manage shared Alexa devices, skills, and users at scale,” according to Amazon Alexa for Business FAQ.
Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know about Alexa and other virtual assistants for business.
Related Story: 16 Crucial Alexa Skills For Marketers
1. Amazon Echo Dominates the Consumer Smart Speaker Market
Amazon announced its first-gen Echo smart speaker, featuring Alexa, in 2014, ahead of Google Home website (released in 2016, featuring Google Assistant) and Apple’s just-now-emerging, Siri-enabled Apple’s HomePod website.
Thanks to its head start, Echo has 69% of the U.S. smart speaker market, according to January 2018 research results from Edison Research and NPR and as reported by Voicebot.ai website. Google Home has 25%. (Apple’s HomePod wasn’t available at the time of the research.)
2. Alexa’s Dominance in the Home Could Lead to Dominance in the Workplace
Ten years ago, the first-gen iPhone inadvertently launched the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon. Could Echo’s popularity do the same in 2018, stirring consumers to bring Alexa to the office or, at a minimum, be comfortable using Alexa at work?
While 38% of professionals said they’ve used a chatbot or digital assistant like Alexa for personal reasons, only 11% have done so in their professional lives, according to the 2017 Enterprise Technology End-User Sentiment Survey from Unit4, which provides enterprise systems for services organizations. However, those who’ve used a chatbot or digital assistant in their personal lives are more than 1.5 times likelier to trust one in handling a work-related task, the survey found.
Separately, 62% of organizations expect virtual assistants to have a place in their companies within the next two years, according to a recent study from Dimension Data report on the digital workplace, a division of telecommunications service provider The NTT Group.
Given Alexa’s current dominance among consumers, then, it’s probable that Alexa will be a popular choice for virtual assistance in the workplace — at least in the beginning.