You may already be asking Alexa to let you know the weather forecast, track down recipes, and play your favorite songs at home. In the not-too-distant future, though, she may play an even more important role and help manage the experience in session rooms at your next conference. On Nov. 30, Amazon unveiled Alexa for Business, an enterprise system that gives users the ability to automatically dial into conference calls, send messages, order suppliers, and much more.
Last week, we previewed how voice assistants like Alexa will reshape attendee expectations. Amazon’s new tool makes it clear that the voice-recognition revolution will do more than change personal behaviors; it will also ease traditional on-site logistical challenges for event organizers. For a glimpse of an Alexa-driven meeting environment, consider WeWork. According to Jordan Crook at TechCrunch, the shared-workspace company has been experimenting with the possibilities of Alexa for Business at its location in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. “With WeWork, users can utilize the ‘ask WeWork’ skill to extend a meeting room reservation, see which meeting rooms are empty, or ask when the next meeting in that room is scheduled to start,” Crook wrote. “Users can also dim the lights or turn them on or off.”
WeWork’s meeting rooms are geared toward more intimate groups, but it’s easy to see how the same technology could transform business-event environments with thousands of attendees, too. Some event organizers are aiming to give attendees more white space in their convention programs, but find it challenging to designate spaces on-the-fly where groups can go to host their own conversations instead of participating in pre-arranged sessions. Alexa for Business seems like a solution that can solve the potential free-for-all chaos of attendees searching for empty ballrooms.
In addition to scheduling, there is potential for solving some of the challenges that typically require real human help. Adjusting the temperature, locating a feedback source from a microphone, and troubleshooting connectivity issues — integrating Alexa for Business into the infrastructure of event venues feels like a future digital difference-maker.
Interested in learning about other digital tools that are driving meetings and events forward? Check out the DES certification course from the Digital Experience Institute.