Alexa

Amazon Alexa Now The Office Assistant, Too

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Amazon has launched a new feature that will allow third-party office equipment manufacturers to embed Alexa directly onto their devices.

According to Fortune, the feature is an extension of the company’s Alexa Voice Service device software development kit, used by coders to embed Alexa into non-office equipment including internet-connected speakers and home networking gear.

Users of the new feature will have their products registered with Alexa for Business, which is a paid service that allows organizations and employees to use Alexa to be more productive at work.

Some of the companies already working with Amazon on it include BlackBerry, iHome, and Plantronics, which owns Polycom.

“We’ve been using Alexa for Business since its launch by pairing Echo devices with existing Polycom equipment, and integrating those experiences directly into products like Polycom Trio will take our customer experience to the next level of convenience and ease of use,” Plantronics vice president of alliance marketing Laura Marx Klopfer said in a statement.

Last month, Amazon announced that Alexa now works with 20,000 devices — a fivefold increase in just eight months.

“Just this year, Alexa has sung Happy Birthday millions of times to customers, and she’s told over 100 million jokes,” said Amazon executive Daniel Rausch.

Rausch, Amazon’s vice president of smart home, explained that at the beginning of 2018, Alexa worked with just over 4,000 devices. The number of brands using Alexa also increased from 1,200 to over 3,500 during the same eight-month period. He added that there are currently 50,000 Alexa skills, as well as hundreds of thousands of developers in over 180 countries working on Alexa.

Alexa has even been utilized by financial institutions, with the U.S. Bank announcing last year that it was among the first banks in the U.S. to enable customers to complete banking tasks such as checking an account balance or making a digital payment to a U.S. Bank credit card by speaking a command to Alexa.

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