Third-party devices that utilize Amazon's Alexa through the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) can now be integrated with Alexa for Business and managed as shared devices, Amazon announced in a Thursday press release. Alexa for Business integrations were previously only available through Amazon's proprietary hardware lineup, lead by the Echo.
This, of course, broadens the available devices that can be used in the Alexa for Business program, the release said. As such, administrators can use these new shared devices to make specific skills available to their employees through the console.
For those unfamiliar, Amazon unveiled the Alexa for Business program the 2017 AWS re:Invent conference. It's an enterprise-focused version of Alexa that can make calls, start meetings in a conference room, and integrate with consumer Alexa devices at home.
SEE: Smart office technology: What's working, what's failing, and what users want out of it (Tech Pro Research)
Alexa for Business also helps companies manage their Alexa users as well as devices and the skills they have implemented, the release said.
Alexa for Business can be accessed as an extension to the AVS Device SDK, which can be found on Github. It can be integrated into new devices or existing Alexa built-in devices.
Amazon Alexa has nearly 50,000 skills available on its platform and is a front runner for business-friendly home speakers. Smart speaker sales have stagnated a bit, but experts expect them to pick back up soon. The question for business leaders is whether or not their environment is set up in such a way that encourages the use of such tools.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- With an Alexa Voice Service (AVS) update, business customers can better manage company skills and push specific apps to the speaker.
- Alexa for Business can be accessed as an extension to the AVS Device SDK, and allows third-party makers from stealing copyrighted material.
- How to optimize the smart office (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)
- How to become an Alexa developer: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Alexa for Business now works with third-party devices (ZDNet)
- Alexa Skills: Cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Amazon Echo: Your Alexa skills just got a whole lot smarter (ZDNet)
- Top 5: Ways Alexa can help you get work done (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.