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Hey, Cortana: What do we consider of Alexa for Business?

Video: What Amazon’s voice use could do for a enterprise

On Nov. 30, Amazon announced that Alexa is streamer loyal into Microsoft’s capability wheelhouse, with a new Alexa for Business service.

A discerning demeanour during a already-available Alexa for Business skills — dialing into discussion calls, determining discussion room settings, provisioning and handling particular and common Echo inclination — creates it transparent that Amazon isn’t calm to keep Alexa essentially inside a home/consumer space.

If you’re Microsoft, we have to be worried. we can’t assistance though consternation about how most of a Alexa for Business devise Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was arcane when he sealed that Alexa-Cortana partnership deal this summer.

In August, this was Amazon’s positioning of because it partnered with Microsoft for Cortana:

“Alexa business will be means to entrance Cortana’s singular facilities like engagement a assembly or accessing work calendars, reminding we to collect adult flowers on your approach home, or reading your work email – all regulating usually your voice. Similarly, Cortana business can ask Alexa to control their intelligent home devices, emporium on, correlate with many of a some-more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers, and most more.”

After today’s announcement, I’m not certain because anyone regulating Alexa would need or wish to ask Cortana to book a assembly or check a work calendar. As Amazon announced, Alexa for Business will confederate with Office 365 and support on-premises Exchange — usually like Cortana.

It’s no tip Microsoft is lagging distant behind Alexa with a Cortana developer story. It’s also no tip that Microsoft has skeleton to try to confederate Cortana some-more deeply into a discussion room, as it hinted in a “Microsoft Future” podcast progressing this year.

In an part of that podcast, Microsoft officials report a discussion room where Cortana greets assembly participants, assists them in fasten a scheduled meeting, register assembly notes, suggest documents, and reminding people of a names and titles of assembly participants.

Microsoft seems to be relocating divided from a strange instruction with Cortana (making it a friendlier front finish for Bing) and toward creation it a loyal digital personal partner that is deeply integrated into apps that users already have, like Office, Skype and Teams. But Amazon seems to be relocating this way, too.

I’ve asked Microsoft officials for their take on Alexa for Business. No word behind yet.

Update (December 1): Unsurprisingly, Microsoft officials won’t speak about what Alexa for Business means for a Microsoft-Amazon partnership around voice assistants. The usually matter a orator would provide:

“Microsoft 365 is a bullion customary for AI-powered productivity, with Cortana and Cognitive Services built-in. As a approach result, tens of millions of people use Microsoft AI during work each day.”

If Microsoft is formulation on creation a “modern office” a place where Cortana shines brightest, it improved hurry. Amazon and Google aren’t going to wait.

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Cheat sheet: Alexa for Business (TechRepublic)

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