Making voice assistants to serve your needs

Nowadays, we live in a world where everything is impacted by the Internet of Things: smart watches, light bulbs with internet connectivity, robots, smart kitchens and buttons to order items from Amazon. Everyone knows about and uses voice assistants, but not everyone appreciates how much they can help with business activities, increase the prestige of a company and streamline some of the millions of processes being completed each day. 

 

Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa

Currently, there are a lot of different voice services from different providers available on the market. Google has Google Home, Amazon has Alexa, Yandex has Alice and Apple has Siri. They all have their special features and I’m going to share my experience about one of such devices.

My first experience with these devices was when I decided to buy an Amazon Echo (Alexa). It was more like a toy that I used for various purposes at home: setting alarms, creating reminders on my Google Calendar, checking the weather forecast for the day, playing music, etc. But as a developer, I wondered what else could be achieved by integrating the functionalities of voice assistants into the workplace. I realized that there is definitely potential for voice assistants to be very helpful in boosting efficiency and productivity in the office. By connecting the voice assistant device to the company’s database and writing an application, you could quickly and conveniently receive information on request. Also, you can be sure that it’s secure because only your application will decide what information is shared and which devices will receive this data. 

Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa

The potential of voice-assisted technology in the workplace is endless. You can put your voice assistant in the conference room to impress your partners and receive fast information about your company (e.g. the number of ongoing projects, company team size, availability of people on different days, budgets, etc.). You can set up meetings, create new projects and save contacts. You can also send out mass notifications via SMS or email. You can even implement the start of processes and connect it to your other side services. For example, you can connect lighting, timers, other devices to Alexa, you can also program Alexa to receive a command to generate a document and send it to the printer.

Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa

You can also, for example, put your voice assistant in your lobby or reception area. Just like our robot Pepper greets guests, the voice assistant can answer any questions that your guests might have.

You can put voice assistants in each office so that everyone has fast access to important information on demand. Accountants can quickly check budgets, the availability of different employees and their project load. Project managers can create projects, assign people to them and see who is free. You can also use the voice assistant to send custom notifications to any group of users and even find out who has a birthday coming up.

You can connect a voice assistant to any API and receive any type of data. Developers can connect it to continuous integration test and delivery platforms, GitHub, podcasts or newsfeeds. Anything that you can access with your application, the voice assistant will be able to receive and give back to you. 

Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa

How Alexa works

Want to see how it works? I made a short video to show how I connected my device to a local database. I have a web interface, which I can access via a tablet, that can represent any company’s website. Alexa is able to access all the website’s information without needing to open different pages, input search queries or filters by hand or spend time on calculations. Check it out! 

However, the fact that we could program Alexa to pronounce various database statistics is merely the cherry on top. Further on, you could program it for the even more complex things and functions. Generally, building a perfect, customizable assistant can save you time and, as a consequence, money. After all, they are easy and fast to create, so why not give it a try?