How Could Amazon's Alexa Help Your Business?

June 1, 2017

Create an interactive smart office for employees, and communicate with customers on a more personal level

The use of artificial intelligence and the smart voice has recently taken off, with sales of the Amazon Alexa reaching over 11 million even before the latest holiday season hit its peak (Morgan Stanley, January 2017). The vast majority of these sales have been to people who wish to use Alexa in the home. But with all this interest, is it time to consider how your business could utilise AI and voice technology?

AI voice control is accomplishing tasks more effectively than ever before, for example, by asking Alexa to purchase a product which can be delivered within hours. In January 2017, Hubspot released statistics stating that “37% of us use Siri, 23% use Microsoft’s Cortana, and 19% use Amazon’s Alexa at least monthly” showing that AI is increasingly becoming part of our day to day lives. Clearly, consumers have realised that voice control has the ability to maximise productivity with very little effort or expense - so why has this not transferred over into business?

Not only can you schedule reminders by speaking your to-do-list, edit documents by voicing demands, and send messages using voice-to-text services, but you can also create your own AI powered skill. Alexa Skills are like apps, they perform tasks which have been tailored for a specific company, or group of users, and can be downloaded instantly, providing users with new abilities within minutes.

Amazon Alexa

The Amazon Echo, also known as Alexa, comes in two models, the Amazon Echo Dot and the Amazon Echo Speaker. The Dot costs £50, while the Speaker costs £129, and both support Skills. The Alexa Skills Kit was first released in June 2015, and there are now over 10,000 skills available to download.

Some forward thinking companies have taken the opportunity to create their own Alexa Skill. For example, The Guardian Skill will read you the news, headlines or reviews, at your chosen time of day. The Uber Skill will book you a driver upon voice request, and let you know where he is, and once he has arrived. And the Dominoes Skill will place your order and update you on the delivery process of your pizza!

If you are a services related company, investing in an Alexa Skill could reap benefits, as it means interacting with customers in the comfort of their homes and providing them with immediate solutions. The opportunity to tailor voice controlled technology specifically for your customers is exciting, and shows them that you are an innovative, forward-thinking brand. For example, you could allow users to ask what their account balance is, give tailored industry news, or provide customer support with an Alexa smart bot.

Amazon Echo Dot & Speaker

Here at Red C Mobile, we can even connect your existing system to your Alexa Skill, so if you have a website that bears information or provides a service, we could use an API to voice activate that information and deliver the same service, in a much more efficient way.

In order to use an Alexa skill, the user must activate it. For example, “Alexa, open Uber Skill ”. This unlocks the skill and prompts Alexa to ask how she can help. The user can then make his or her request accordingly. If the skill you are activating stores important information, such as bank details, Alexa may require a password. The user can setup a password with their voice before they start using the skill. This way, Alexa must recognise the password before performing any tasks associated with that particular skill.

According to Geekwire “Amazon sold 4.4 million Echo units in its first full year of sales.” Why not be the first company in your industry with its own voice controlled service?

Google Home Assistant

The Google Assistant is the Google Home Smart Speaker, currently being advertised all over tech city. Google Home costs £129, and can automatically be connected to a user’s Google account, pulling data from their Google Calendar, Google Mail, Google Docs, or any other Google service they use. Like Alexa, Google Home can store important information and perform tasks that would often take up valuable time.

It also has it’s own version of Skills, called Actions, which are built natively for Google. Google describes Actions as an opportunity for “developers to extend the Google Assist” with new abilities. Like Skills, developers can build Actions that carry out specific steps to complete a task. For example, once connected, Google assist can even control other home devices with a simple instruction, such as ‘Google, turn on the lights” or “Google, turn off the heating.”

Here at Red C Mobile, we have the skills to turn your business requirements into a Google Action.

Google Home Assist

Siri

Siri is the most well known AI voice, as the majority of Apple iPhone users tend to question Siri for fun. Having said that, recently, more users have admitted to using Siri to phone their contacts, dictate text and ask about the weather forecast. Siri has now been opened to developers, so they can add Siri functionality to your iOS app.This allows users to access content and services using just their voice. 

Last night, at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2017, Apple announced the launch of a Siri powered speaker to compete with Alexa, Google Home and the Sonos Speaker. The Siri powered speaker, also known as the HomePod is set to be released in December this year, and will use spatial awareness to detect the size of the room and fill it with sound. It also has a 'Musicologists' which is connected to Apple Music, allowing users to access music from the biggest library by just asking so. According to Mediapos “About 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020” showing that AI and voice control is the future!

Siri Speaker - HomePod

Cortana

Cortana is Microsoft’s voice control. According to Microsoft “the more you use Cortana, the more personalised your experience becomes.” Cortana can work on a PC and mobile device, but isn’t quite as advanced as Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Home Smart Speaker that can process added abilities.

Red C’s service

At Red C, we have previous experience developing systems that connect to complex API’s. We can tailor an Amazon Skill or a Google Action to your business, with prices starting from just £800. According to Katherine Waiter, on average “humans can speak 150 words a minute vs. type an average 40 words per minute.” Thus, AI voice control is the most efficient way of completing tasks.

Contact me on zara.kamrudeen@red-c.co.uk for a free consultation to discuss your requirements.

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