Centuries ago, the idea of virtual assistants and voice recognition was just that, an idea. It was once a fragment of science fiction – a dream for the future, in which technology plays a role in our everyday lives, advancing the possibilities of what we can achieve.
But as the rate of technological innovation began to increase exponentially, what we once considered farfetched became more real. It no longer seemed like such a fantasy.
Now, with the entire digital world at the command of our fingertips, it was only a matter of time before more of what was dreamed up by generations before us became fully realized.
In 2014, Amazon released Alexa, a voice and virtual assistant that could be used to help with everyday needs and responsibilities. Alexa was advertised as being able to do things like check the weather, play music and look up essentially anything on the internet.
Not only does Alexa have a practical use, through the release of the Amazon Echo and related gadgets, but her presence in society has been cemented due to her iconic voice.
The name ‘Alexa,’ is no longer just a name that might belong to a person. The combination of her human voice and her role as a virtual assistant, makes Alexa more than just a new piece of technology, trailblazing the way for newer and better gadgets. It seems like Alexa might be around for a long time.
As of today, Alexa’s influence has surpassed the novelty of voice recognition, paving way for her use in everything from home life to running a business.
Since Alexa’s initial release, her usage has expanded much further. In addition to her original functions, Alexa can now be paired with a number of new technologies like the Echo Flex, Echo frames, and the Echo Loop.
Each user can also download apps, called Alexa Skills, which extend Alexa’s capabilities. This is what makes Alexa different from other voice-activated virtual assistants.
Alexa’s abilities have allowed her to be used beyond simple everyday tasks. According to Digital Authority, Alexa can even help with starting up a business.
But why should you invest in a virtual assistant for your business? What can Alexa offer to make your business the best it can be?
Because Alexa is such a popular assistant, a number of businesses have already created business and finance-related skills that are ready-for-use in your startup. For example, you can use Alexa to keep track of spending, stay updated on stocks, and get daily advice on finances, marketing, and more.
Thousands of Alexa skills exist online, many of which can be downloaded for free. This means that Alexa can save you a lot of money that might have otherwise been spent on purchasing apps on other platforms for the same kind of assistance.
Alexa is also constantly being improved, and more skills are being added. Amazon, itself, is expanding how Alexa can be used by introducing new ways to bring Alexa with you, beyond just your home or business. This way, you can benefit from Alexa’s assistance anywhere.
This can be especially useful for your startup if you are doing a lot of traveling or don’t spend a lot of time in a single office space.
In addition to supplying you with the skills to run your startup business, Alexa can help you learn any skills you feel you still need and keep you informed about what’s going on in the world.
With Alexa Skills like Rosetta Stone and Life Hacks, you can learn a foreign language to help you communicate with your audience and figure out how to make your day more efficient. You can also stay up-to-date on news in the technology and business worlds with new-related Alexa skills.
If you can’t find the Alexa Skill you need, you can develop your own. This is where Alexa is especially unique.
Amazon released the Alexa Skill Kit, or ASK, which allows you to create customized Alexa skills. You can create exactly what you need and customize it for your business, your workflow, and your employees.
Although the process of creating your own Alexa skills can seem daunting, the benefits can make a huge difference in your business. Being able to bring the ease of a virtual assistant to your startup can make your business more efficient and better organized, letting you focus on the bigger picture.
Developing your own Alexa skills can also create a better environment for your employees and potentially for your customers. Streamlining your efficiency will not only help you get a grip on your business but will also ensure that your employees can manage their work better and that your customers will be receiving the best services you can offer.
Not sure where to start? Check out this list of companies that can help you figure out how to best implement technology into your budding business.
Once you know where your business could benefit from utilizing technology like Alexa skills, you can then start developing. Amazon itself has a how-to guide on building custom skills.
The custom Alexa skill route is also considerably low-cost. The primary cost of an Alexa skill is from hosting it, which will further depend on the complexity and popularity of your Alexa skill.
Though it may seem practical to use Alexa skills in your startup business, will it really be that useful?
Chances are, yes, adding Alexa skills to your business can help in a lot of ways. Many businesses already incorporate Alexa skills.
McDonald’s recently reinvigorated its hiring process by utilizing Alexa. Potential employees can use Alexa to start their application process by saying, “Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s.”
Alexa is also being incorporated into the health care world. Omron Healthcare has been working with Amazon to develop a better way for people to monitor their blood pressure.
So if you’re looking to start a business or have already launched your startup, Alexa skills should be on your radar. With Alexa’s current repertoire and potential for more, implementing Alexa skills into your business can both improve your workflow and prepare your business for the technological age.
Alexa’s potential is even larger with the Alexa Skills kit, allowing businesses to create their own Alexa skills. This way, you will have more than just the option of using existing Alexa skills in your startup. You can also use Alexa skills as a platform to launch your own, customized developments.