Voice assistants like Alexa will invade the workplace this year


If this year’s holiday sales are any indication, 2018 could be the year that digital voice assistants become common in the workplace.

Amazon reports that Echo Dot – the hands-free, voice-controlled device that connects to the online retail giant’s Alexa voice service to provide information, play music, send and receive messages, control smart devices, and more – was the top-selling product across all categories on Amazon over the holiday shopping season.

Wait, there’s more. According to TechCrunch, the Alexa app that works with Amazon’s smart speaker products topped the holiday download list on Apple’s App Store for the first time ever.

These are clear indications that the early-adopter phase is well behind us and that the mainstream public is becoming accustomed to verbally interacting with smart devices that can retrieve information and perform helpful little tasks such as ordering pizza and making phone calls.

The next logical step is for the millions of consumers whose voice assistants are making life easier at home to want these same benefits in the workplace. That’s what happened with smartphones and tablets as consumers began bringing personal devices into the office to do their jobs: Enterprise workers became more productive because they were using personalized technology that they understood and could easily navigate.

Does that mean people will want to use the same Alexa (or Google Home) devices in the office? You bet! Amazon Web Services (AWS) has anticipated this, announcing Alexa for Business in November 2017.

Alexa for Business can be used through both shared devices and personal devices. It also provides IT administrators with controls such as the ability to provision Alexa devices, configure conference room settings, and manage users.

But as IT pros discovered when consumerization first invaded the workplace, employees aren’t always willing to be corralled. Many enterprise workers skirt IT processes and requirements regarding use of personal devices, often going rogue in a way that can make enterprise management and security more challenging that it already is.

Still, AWS has the right idea: If you like Alexa in the home, you’ll like it at work, and here are some tools that will help you get the most out of your familiar voice assistant in the office (while also helping your IT department manage the whole thing).

Whether it’s Alexa or any other voice assistant technology, I think this is the year when enterprises will have to develop strategies for voice-assistant technologies — because these eager digital workers are coming.


Speaking of voice-activated workplace assistants, here they are!

Alexa’s growing skills show potential for voice assistants in the workplace

Do voice activated assistants have a place in business?


  1. […] among the aged who have an inability to use typical smart phones and tablets to communicate. Alexa for Business is now being sold as a voice enabled conference call system and contacts manager. In addition the […]


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