When most people think of Amazon Alexa, they imagine an unassuming speaker sitting in their house delivering audio content on demand. While Alexa was released as a consumer device, the same technology provides benefits to businesses as well.
Amazon’s Alexa is a very powerful and surprisingly approachable solution that can integrate with almost anything. Literally, if your desired app has an API then Alexa will work with it. Many programming languages have simple libraries to help you get started, and I have had a great experience with Flask-Ask for Python. Here are five simple ways that your business can get started with Alexa.
- Use Alexa as a virtual assistant at a tradeshow
Typically booths get significant traffic at tradeshows, and prospects often ask the same questions. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could have Alexa answer those questions for you? I have done this and it is not difficult to do. The one word of warning is that you need a consistent WiFi connection and fairly quiet booth as Alexa has trouble in very noisy areas.
2. Provide a virtual assistant in your front lobby
You likely already have a human greeting guests in the lobby. However, Alexa could easily augment she/he and cover during breaks. As an added bonus, you could even have Alexa email or texts individuals on-demand based on who the visitor there to see.
3. Simplify shipping by providing the shipping department with an easy tool for validating basic address information
There are so many basic logistical questions relating to shipping such as fastest shipping method or zip code validation. These questions can easily be answered by Alexa with minimal customization. As an added bonus, you could integrate Alexa with your shipping system for further automation.
4. Accelerate supply ordering by enabling operations teams to order directly through Alexa
Companies frequently need to order basic supplies for their employees such as paper, pens and printer ink. The ordering process can be complicated, and Alexa can help simplify the process. Of course, Amazon would prefer that you order from them; however, it would not be difficult to integrate and alternate ordering method using the company’s preferred supplier.
5. Integrate basic product functionality using Alexa APIs for enhanced ease of use
Many companies are providing products that rely on traditional GUI interfaces for interaction. Alexa can provide a new and simplified approach to product operation. This could be overwhelming for developers; however, a good strategy is to start with basic functionality and expand over time. As previously mentioned, as long as your product has an API, adding Alexa support is a very manageable endeavor.
Amazon’s Alexa has provided a new way for consumers to interact with technology. While many businesses may think of this as a consumer-centric offering, there are multiple opportunities for companies to take advantage of the same technology. These five simple projects provided examples of how businesses can get started with Alexa.
How is your business using Alexa? Let us know in the comments.
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