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Personal Voice Assistants at the Workplace – An Idea Whose Time has Come?


Increasingly, more and more people and even companies have started to come around to the view that personal voice assistants have to move into an Enterprise environment.

Some feel such business agents can be of great use in verticals, and of course, for specific roles within an organization. Digital voice assistants can enhance sales, marketing, and brand strategy teams by not only assisting them but also by providing descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics in a not-so-complex manner, unlike today.

Take Amazon’s ‘Alexa For Business’. It’s got the first-mover advantage on this front. It aims to give Enterprise workers access to software to use voice controls for the automation of tasks. There are more like Alexa – Cisco’s own corporate version of AI-powered voice assistants, and then, Microsoft’s Cortana. All of them are now being actively used in some corporates.

For now, here’s what you can do in your office with Alexa. This is more in the form of making readers understand the potential of such digital voice assistants than anything else.

At the start of a meeting, you can command her, “Alexa, start the meeting”. Alexa turns on the video conferencing equipment, dials into your conference call, and gets the meeting going.

Before the meeting, ask Alexa to help you find an open conference room. Just ran out of stationery? Ask Alexa to order fresh supplies.

You can even use such personal devices to make hands-free phone calls or even send out SMS.  Such intelligent assistants can quickly check calendars, help schedule meetings, manage to-do lists, and set reminders.

Alexa can also help find information in popular business applications like Salesforce.

This is all early-stage. The more sophisticated versions of digital assistants being released will obviously be tasked to go way beyond such mundane “human” tasks. Your in-house data analyst can just use an API to convert all Predictive Analytics content into voice. This means your Brand Strategy team does not have to look at complicated dashboards. All it needs is to ask the digital assistant verbal questions, and the reply will be in Voice.

Analytics, per see, and even Marketing, too, can benefit, in 2 ways. Integrating digital voice assistants in the Enterprise, as I have explained is one. The other is to consume data from a user who has handled Alexa or Siri, or a Bixby, and captures both, user intent and contextual data to track user actions.

We have seen in just under a decade, as I had mentioned in the first part of this post, CRM has gone from being 100% face-to-face or phone-based to a diverse, omnichannel.

Now, it’s got even more sophisticated, cutting out humans altogether from the entire process. Companies now employ automated conversational solutions, like chatbots and digital voice assistants that interact directly with the customer and collect data.

Deploying Artificial Intelligence, a deep analysis of voice data can help brands get insights into their audience and help them make recommendations.

I leave you with this thought…..

There’s talk of Enterprises seeing a movement similar to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) one, where digital voice assistants are concerned. It’s like bringing your laptops and PDAs to work.

There are two opinions over this. While one segment is all for it and agrees that eventually, such digital assistants will become part of the corporate scenario, so BYOD is just waiting to happen, the other cautions that it may not be as easy as some would like to think. Standing as a hurdle are security issues, and of course, the fact that this could mean sensitive organization data falling in the wrong hands or being sold.

So, what do you think? Why don’t you write your views in the ‘Comments’ section below?

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