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Amazon, WeWork Halt Alexa For Business Pilot

Amazon and WeWork have reportedly pressed pause on their partnership to introduce Alexa for Business into workspaces, reports in CNBC said this week.

The two struck a collaboration to test Alexa for Business, an effort by Amazon to broaden Alexa’s reach beyond consumer homes. CNBC said an Alexa for Business pilot at WeWork’s headquarters in New York has now been paused after just two months of testing, an unnamed source said, despite early success of the initiative.

Reports noted that it is unclear why Amazon and WeWork have suspended their collaboration, or whether they will pick up the project again.

Alexa for Business was placed at the WeWork headquarters to allow employees to use the voice-activated assistant to reserve conference rooms, adjust room temperatures and other workplace-related tasks. The project could have been a launching pad for Alexa to expand its reach in the enterprise, but reports said the end of testing with WeWork signals challenges for the technology to gain traction with enterprise users.

“People see voice as a viable interaction method at work,” said Acumatica VP of Platform Strategy Ajoy Krishnamoorthy. “But we need to build the confidence in the industry that technology like this can work with the right security sometimes you have to go slow to go fast.”

Acumatica, which develops business software and has partnered with Alexa for Business, said its app created for Alexa for Business “skill” still has yet to formally launch, despite being introduced to the market nearly a year ago, CNBC said. According to Krishnamoorthy, developers are still refining the solution with a focus on security and authorization, a reflection of the heightened importance of such features when applying a consumer technology to the workplace.

“It’s one thing to have a skill that checks the weather and news, where the data is not as classified,” he told the publication. “But when you’re dealing with business applications, you’ve got to have the right set of authorizations built in.”

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