As part of its continuing effort to make the intelligent voice assistant Alexa available everywhere, Amazon has announced that third-party devices will now work with Alexa for Business, its program for shared devices in enterprises and organizations.
The new capability extends Amazon Web Services’ Alexa for Business device management beyond Amazon’s own Echo devices. Introduced last November, Alexa for Business was designed to let users dial into conference calls, check business calendars, and look up information in popular business tools like Salesforce with voice commands.
“Customers love using Alexa on Echo devices to simplify meeting room experiences and have asked us to enable the same experiences on their existing equipment,” said Collin Davis, Alexa for Business general manager in a blog post. “We are excited to be working with device makers to bring the power of Alexa to our customers through the devices they already use around the office. Customers get all the benefits of Alexa for Business without having to install any new hardware.”
Amazon says it’s working with brands and solution providers including Plantronics, iHome, Blackberry, Linkplay and Extron to embed Alexa capabilities into devices such as Polycom conferencing equipment and other products usually found in offices and workplaces.
Places appropriate for Alexa for Business, according to Amazon, range from conference rooms and hotel rooms, to lobbies, kitchens, break rooms and copy rooms.
A number of companies have already adopted Echo devices for shared spaces. Among them are WeWork, which uses Alexa to reserve conference rooms, as well as the Wynn Las Vegas and Marriott hotels, which have installed Echo devices in guest rooms for commands and requests. Amazon said other enterprises, including Fender, Express Trucking, and Propel Insurance, have adopted Alexa for Business and added Echo devices to let employees interact with technology by voice.