October 24, 2018Sanjay Ramaswamy
Last fall, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced Alexa for Business, giving companies the ability to introduce Alexa to their organization and build custom and scalable voice experiences. Since its launch, companies like Express Trucking, Fender, and Propel Insurance have used Alexa for Business to add Amazon Echo devices to meeting rooms, workspaces, and other shared environments, enabling employees to interact with the technology at work using just their voice. We’ve made it simple to pair an Amazon Echo with existing office equipment, but we also heard from many organizations that they’d like Alexa built into their existing devices to minimize the amount of technology they need to manage and monitor.
Today, we’re excited to announce that device makers building with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) can now create fully integrated solutions, so their products can be registered with Alexa for Business and managed as shared devices in organizations. Alexa for Business customers will soon be able to centrally manage and deploy supported products with Alexa built-in – whether it’s built by Amazon or third-party device makers.
With a simple extension to the AVS Device SDK, device makers can leverage Alexa for Business to bring the power of voice to enterprises. Together, the solutions allow for: (1) deployment of third-party devices to shared spaces such as conference rooms, hotel and dorm rooms, lobbies, kitchens, break rooms, and copy rooms, (2) device management as part of the device makers' existing management flow, such as room designation, device health monitoring, and location setting and (3) skill management, such as public and private skill assignment for shared devices without publishing to the public Alexa Skills Store.
"Customers love using Alexa on Echo devices to simplify meeting room experiences and have asked us to enable the same experiences on their existing equipment,” said Collin Davis, GM, Alexa for Business. “We are excited to be working with device makers to bring the power of Alexa to our customers through the devices they already use around the office. Customers get all the benefits of Alexa for Business without having to install any new hardware."
“The ability to create Alexa built-in products for the enterprise represents a significant opportunity for device makers,” added Pete Thompson, VP of the Alexa Voice Service. “With a simple extension to the AVS Device SDK, device makers can address the growing demand for voice in organizations and deliver new voice-based solutions that simplify tasks and enhance productivity.”
We are working with popular brands like Plantronics, iHome, and BlackBerry, and solution providers like Linkplay and Extron to bring delightful and productive Alexa experiences to organizations.
“Plantronics creates simple audio experiences to enable customers to make critical connections,” said Laura Marx, VP of Alliance Marketing at Plantronics. “We’ve been using Alexa for Business since its launch by pairing Echo devices with existing Polycom equipment, and integrating those experiences directly into products like Polycom Trio will take our customer experience to the next level of convenience and ease of use.”
“We’re excited to extend our collaboration with Amazon to bring Alexa for Business capabilities to iHome devices with Alexa built-in,” said Gary Schultz, Director of Business and Product Development at iHome. “By enabling our products to be deployed and managed across new environments, we’re able to reach more people and deliver additional Alexa functionality for customers.”
The Alexa for Business capabilities are provided as an extension to the AVS Device SDK, starting with version 1.10, available to download from Github. For device makers looking to learn more about how to build for or enable existing Alexa built-in devices with Alexa for Business as shared devices, please see our documentation.
Alexa for Business offers a solution that allows administrators to deploy and manage shared Alexa devices, skills, and users at scale. To learn more about how you build your own solution with Alexa for Business’s device and skill management capabilities, please see the API Reference Guide.
AVS makes it easy to develop products with Alexa built-in and bring voice-forward experiences to your customers. Through AVS, you can add a new natural user interface to your products and offer your customers access to a growing number of Alexa features, smart home integrations, and skills. Get Started.