Thinking of bringing a little help into your business environment? Thanks to artificial intelligence, smart speakers can bring over 15,000 skills to life, helping you answer questions, solve problems, control smart devices, and a whole lot more.
Amazon’s Echo was the very first smart speaker to enter the scene, and it still dominates the marketplace. The Echo lineup has grown to include the original Echo, the less expensive Echo Dot, a touchscreen-enabled Echo Show, and the newest launch the Echo Look.
The Echo connects with dozens of smart home devices, including Philips Hue, Nest, Ring, iHome Smart Plugs, iRobot Roomba Smart Vacuums, WeMo and more. It also promotes over 15,000 skills such as SiriusXM, Spotify, Pandora, Uber, Audible, NPR, and so many more.
There are three ways to enable a skill. The best option depends on what device you have on hand. You can use:
Voice – if you know what skill you want to use, you can say “Alexa, open [skill]” and it will pop to life. Of course, this needs initial data entry to work properly, but once it’s set to go, it will be the easiest way to access the skills you use most.
App – just like an app on your other mobile devices, you find the skill and tap which one you wish to use.
Website – the skills website is easy to use. Find the new skill you want, install and click on it.
Echo syncs with Google Calendar to identify your next conference call and dial in at the appropriate time. It manages conference numbers and participant codes before connecting to you. All you need to say is “start my call.”
Mastermind is one of the most popular Alexa skills, letting you access your phone’s notification, send and get text messages, initiate phone calls, launch apps, and more. It’s a voice-activated productivity and communication powerhouse.
It’s hard to argue with the ease of using Amazon to order just about everything. It becomes even easier when you have an Echo. Whether you’re running low on coffee for the office or need a new supply of pens, if it’s in your ordering history, it’s as easy as saying, “Alexa, order some coffee.”
To Do List
Echo has a simple built in to do list that can help you create day-to-day lists to stay on track. For more sophistication, you can use cross-platform apps such as Any.do or Todolist for a more robust feature set.
If you are considering adding a Bluetooth speaker for a communal space or a private office, the Echo offers an excellent option. Use it with your Amazon streaming catalog, or connect with your Spotify or Pandora account for more options.
Tracking expenses is tedious for everyone in business. With Expense Tracker skill, you can manage expenses and create a financial overview. Simply create new categories to give more depth to the way you look at your business.
Order a Ride
Do you use Uber or Lyft on a regular basis? The app allows you to easily connect and reserve your ride as you’re heading out of the office.
Want to keep your office space clean without hiring a commercial cleaner daily? Connect to vacuums from Neato and Samsung and start their autonomous vacuums as you walk out the door.
Are you using Amazon’s Echo for your business? What skills are your favorite?