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March 28, 2019Ben Grossman
We are excited to announce Alexa for Business Blueprints, enabling any Alexa for Business customer to publish private skills to their organization within minutes and without writing a single line of code.
Private skills are voice-powered capabilities that enhance the Alexa experience while remaining private to members of an Alexa for Business organization. Skill Blueprints are so easy to use, people have used them extensively to create Alexa skills for their households. Now anyone at the office can do the same for their workplace, simply by filling in custom requests and responses in one of dozens of easy-to-use Blueprints. IT administrators can then review and enable that content for the company’s users and managed Alexa-enabled devices.
Customers want the same productivity boost at work that they get with Alexa in their everyday lives, by asking questions such as “Alexa, ask Office Helper, what days are we off for Thanksgiving?” or “…how do I process my contractor’s invoice?” However, some companies attempting to develop custom Alexa skills found they didn't have the resources to build their own private skills, which can take several months to design and release to their organization.
Starting today, organizations of any size can create private skills using Alexa for Business Blueprints, regardless of budget, without needing developers to write a single line of code. Skills created from these blueprints can answer work-related questions such as "What's the guest Wi-Fi password?", “What are the hours for IT?”, or "When does open enrollment start?"
Using a link provided by the company’s Alexa for Business administrator, anyone, whether an executive assistant, salesperson, line of business owner, or IT admin, can use any available Skill Blueprint on the Alexa Skill Blueprints website to create, test, and then publish a private skill to their organization. Once distributed, the company’s IT admin can then review and enable the skill for the organization’s shared devices and enrolled users.
Alexa for Business has also added two new Skill Blueprints to the Alexa Skill Blueprints website under a new category called “Business”, including a Business Q&A blueprint for custom questions and answers, and an Onboard Guide blueprint to handle “How do I” and “Where is” types of questions. Skills created using the Onboard Guide blueprint could be used by new hires at an organization, for example. No coding is required to use these Skill Blueprints. All that's needed to submit a skill to your organization is an Amazon account and the Alexa for Businesses organization identifier (also known as an ARN) provided by the organization's IT admin. That means that anyone at the office can contribute to creating useful Alexa skills for the organization.
Glidewell Dental plans to use Alexa for Business Blueprints such as the Flash Briefing and Business Q&A templates, to supplement their corporate communications to help keep their staff engaged and updated with the latest company information and events.
Saint Louis University plans to drive student and faculty engagement using Alexa for Business Blueprints.“Our resident students have quickly adopted Alexa in assisting them in their daily lives at SLU, which has been made possible through the Alexa for Business platform,” said Kyle Collins, Assistant VP of Technology Transformation for Saint Louis University. “We are also rapidly expanding Alexa out to support our faculty and staff in their workday as well. A main challenge we have faced to date is developing Alexa skills and content fast enough to meet demand. With the new capability to create Alexa private skills based off of Skill Blueprints with no coding required, we have the solution we were looking for. Currently, four teams of students that are part of SLU’s Innovation Challenge program are leveraging the new Alexa for Business Blueprints capability to quickly develop custom private skills to turn their voice skills ideas into reality. Alexa for Business Blueprints will allow us to deliver these skills out to our network of managed Alexa-enabled devices across campus. This capability will dramatically increase our ability to deliver high value content to our user community.”
Emerson University plans to use Alexa for Business Blueprints in support of their curriculum. “Emerson College is internationally recognized as the nation’s premier institution of higher learning devoted to communication and the arts,” said Sanjay Pothen, Director of Emerson Launch. “As such, it’s important for us to provide students with a leading edge experience both on and off campus, and Alexa for Business is going to be a big part of that. We’re trialing a concept called Voicelets whereby we’ll be using Alexa for Business Blueprints, such as Business Q&A, as well as Skill Blueprints from the Learning and Knowledge category, to create class-specific quizzes as a fun and engaging way for students to learn course materials. Because no coding is required to create private skills in this way, our professors plan to join in on the content creation!”
There is no limit to the number of skills you can create. Getting started is as simple as filling in the blanks. Learn more on the Alexa for Business Blueprints page. We're looking forward to hearing from you about the skills you create for your organization. Alexa for Business Blueprints is now available in the U.S. Let us know what you think by sending feedback!