Alexa skills are becoming more complex as the years go on. This voice-activated tool is proving useful for far more than just playing music and setting kitchen timers. Alexa for business could change the way that our workplace functions, from automating basic tasks to assisting with critical thinking and problem solving.
The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) allows for skills to be built to fit the needs of offices and businesses. The number of skills that Alexa is able to execute is growing rapidly. In January of 2016, only 130 skills were available. By the end of 2018 there were 80,000 skills.
So, which skills can you use to take your business to the next level? Here are 5 Alexa skills that every business should invest in:
- Administrative Tasks
Alexa is able to assist with a lot of day-to-day, routine administrative tasks that are eating up work time. With its most basic functions, Alexa can set and execute reminders for meetings, video conferences, or important due dates. This will help to increase productivity and ensure that employees stay on task.
Another example is document searches. Office employees spend hours a week searching through documents. Alexa can help to speed up this process so that employees can focus on more critical thinking tasks.
Alexa enabled devices can be placed throughout an office, in common spaces or even at individual desks. They can be connected to Gmail, Office 365, iCloud, and Google Calendar. Calendars can be shared through multiple people so that everyone can be reminded of important dates and meetings.
This connection also allows users to read emails, reply to them quickly, and add information to their calendar if necessary.
According to Digital Authority Partners, streamlining these tasks will keep employees focused on the work that only humans can do while eliminating the time wasted on tasks that can be automated.
- Meetings Management
We’ve already established that Alexa can handle meeting reminders, but there’s a lot more that it has to offer when it comes to meetings and conferences. Asking Alexa if a conference room or board room is open can tell you quickly and easily if something is already scheduled. You can also book a room if it is available.
Alexa-enabled devices are also able to start video conferences with a single prompt. No more fussing over equipment. Alexa will initiate the call on all of the required equipment automatically. You can dive right into the meeting.
- Healthcare Management
According to Healthcare Weekly, Alexa skills can be very useful in the healthcare industry. There are skills that will help patients, doctors, and even family members of patients.
One example is an Alexa-based app that allows nurses to check on patients to make sure that they have taken their medication. This is especially useful for elderly patients that may otherwise have a difficult time remembering their medication routine. This app can also be used by family members who care for these loved ones.
Mayo Clinic has also embraced Alexa by creating a skill that gives advice for basic first-aid needs. You can ask Alexa how to treat minor injuries and ailments, like cuts, burns, or fevers. It will provide you with basic instructions and remedies. (To be clear, this is not meant for use in life-threatening situations, only for injuries or illness that can be effectively treated at home.)
Another way that Alexa is beneficial in the healthcare industry is by providing hands-free assistance to EMTs, nurses, and doctors who need to wear gloves and stay sterile. Some ambulances have started using Alexa-enabled devices to provide basic information and references when needed. Without Alexa, EMTs would look to a lengthy document for answers. But, with Alexa’s search function, they can save time and focus on the patient in need.
- Data Analysis
Alexa skills can be built to fit the specific needs of your business. Alexa can connect to apps to gain access to your company’s data and information so that it can quickly recall various facts and figures.
You can ask Alexa how well a specific product is selling, or how much business comes from online orders. This allows you to focus more brain power on analyzing these numbers and less brain power on looking them up or recalling them.
Alexa is also able to communicate with programs that automate the analysis of raw data, like Amazon’s Athena. Alexa simply needs to be connected to the program to get started.
According to Combo App, the more you use data to inform your marketing strategies, the better. Data-driven marketing allows for much more targeted tactics that are more effective. Spending less time on data recall and more time on data analysis will allow for more efficient and productive meetings.
- Notifying IT of Issues
When multiple Alexa-enabled devices are in use, it makes it easy for departments to report technical issues to IT. The whole ticketing system can be automated. All that the employee has to do is tell Alexa to submit a ticket and describe the situation. IT can get started on the ticket and the employee can move onto something else.
There are also Alexa skills available that will monitor your website. If the website should crash or have an error, it will notify Alexa, which can then notify IT.
Alexa skills have the potential to change the way that our businesses and offices function. If these devices are properly utilized, companies will no longer have to create positions for people to carry out menial tasks. This will allow them to create more positions focused on creative problem solving and innovation.
When we embrace new technology, we free ourselves up to do more fulfilling work. That is the future that Alexa skills can offer.
This article is contributed by Michael Reddy @ Digital Authority Partners