Amazon Alexa Workplace test with WeWork paused; high usage at Amazon


Meanwhile, Amazon is quickly learning how popular Alexa can be among its own employees.

In a pilot program released earlier this year, Amazon saw more than half of its meetings – 53 percent to be exact – start talking to the voice wizard Alexa, instead of manually typing the call information into the existing touch panel , according to internal data obtained by CNBC.

In addition, the meetings started in less than nine seconds, on average, the data show.

The results, coming in June, are based on a pilot program that installed Alexa for Business in 698 conference rooms at five different Amazon buildings in Seattle. The program is run by AWS Product Adoptions, a team that internally tests AWS products before deploying them more widely.

The rapid adoption of Alexa for Business among Amazon employees shows the enormous potential of voice technology in the workplace.

But Amazon could bring this kind of external adoption too if they would more aggressively promote and clarify Alexa Business's positioning as a business tool, as many companies are still unaware of Alexa's capabilities at work, according to Jon Kleinschmidt, CEO of Obindo, another early partner in the Alexa for Business program.

For example, Kleinschmidt said his clients tend to ask much more often about integrating Obindo with tools like email and messaging applications compared to his Alexa skill. Obindo, software that shows company information, such as who is in charge of certain projects with a simple command, works with simple voice queries in Alexa. But when Kleinschmidt shows this feature to customers, a common response is, "We did not even think about using Alexa in the office," he said.

Kleinschmidt said it would help raise awareness of Alexa's potential in the business space if Amazon had stronger marketing campaigns around Alexa for Business, noting how most of the ads on Alexa are focused on consumer use cases .

"People's eyes just light up when we show how they can use Obindo inside Alexa," he said. "I would love to see Amazon telling more stories that really capture people's imagination."

An Amazon employee, who agreed to talk to CNBC on condition that he was not identified because he was not authorized to speak on the subject, said that Alexa for Business is a convenient tool to start meetings, significantly reducing everyone's dialing time the participants. But he also noted that his use case is still limited to basic features such as starting meetings or darken the room lights.

Kleinschmidt in Obindo said that rapid adoption at the most basic level of getting meetings with the voice is expected. But given Alexa's level of sophistication and ability to offer much smarter data, Amazon would be "leaving a lot to be desired" if it did not further boost its capabilities, he said.

"This platform is much more than making meetings run with a little more efficiency," he said.


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