Alexa is leaving the kitchen and heading into the office.
On Thursday at its re:Invent conference, Amazon announced Alexa for Business, an initiative aimed at bringing its voice-based, Alexa artificial intelligence platform, via its Echo speakers, into office settings. The company envisions that Alexa will help workers easily start conference calls and videoconferences, book conference rooms, order office supplies, find open conference rooms and more.
According to The Wall Street Journal, new applications, Alexa “skills,” will allow users to dim office lights, lower blinds and start a project in a conference room by saying, “Alexa, start the meeting.” The WSJ adds that “workers will be able to tell a device near a printer to send a notification to refill it with paper.”
As The Verge reports, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels thinks voice will be the future of computer interfaces. “It’s a natural way of interacting with your systems,” he said. “You ask your environment to give you the right answer.” Vogels sees voices as “the first disruption” driven by the push into artificial intelligence, particularly deep learning.