Amazon is eyeing up the office space for the continued growth of its Alexa voice assistant.
The retail giant has announced that its Alexa for Business (opens in new tab) feature – a paid service that angles Alexa as a basic receptionist or intern, able to handle basic office tasks like conference room bookings and scheduling meetings – would soon be coming to third-party devices.
In practice this would allow companies other than Amazon to integrate the Alexa voice assistant into various pieces of equipment around the office other than the usual music speakers. Headsets for conference calls seem likely, but having Alexa in your printer or the office kitchen could also be pretty useful.
Amazon clarified that it was working directly with Plantronics, iHome, and Blackberry on widening the scope of the Alexa for Business feature.
We are one
Amazon has made a huge amount of headway in getting its Alexa voice assistant into as many varieties of devices as possible. In recent months, we've seen Alexa move from smart speakers to clocks and microwaves, as well as a dedicated in-car assistant called Amazon Echo Auto.
That's not to mention the various third-party partnerships – Sonos, JBL – or the commencement of the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit, an open-source development kit for manufacturers looking to integrate voice capability in other home or novelty gadgets.
While Amazon has dominated the smart speaker market, it faces fiercer competition in the workplace from the likes of Google Assistant or Microsoft's Cortana – the latter of which comes bundled in all Windows 10 PCs, and has been developed specifically for work-related purposes.
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