Alexa for Business now open to third-party integration

Rene Millman

26 Oct, 2018

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant could soon be popping up on office printers and photocopiers.

The firm has announced an extension to its existing Alexa Voice Service Device SDK that would enable third-party manufacturers to add the voice assistant to their business devices.

The SDK would enable devices to sport Alexa and be managed as shared devices in organisations. Alexa for Business customers will soon be able to centrally manage and deploy supported products with Alexa built-in – whether it’s built by Amazon or third-party device makers.

The move would see the deployment of third-party devices to shared spaces such as conference rooms, hotel and dorm rooms, lobbies, kitchens, break rooms, and copy rooms, according to Sanjay Ramaswamy, a developer at Amazon.

The SDK would also enable device management as part of the device makers’ existing management flow, such as room designation, device health monitoring, and location setting. There will also be skill management, such as public and private skill assignment for shared devices without publishing to the public Alexa Skills Store.

In a blog post, Collin Davis, GM, Alexa for Business, said that customers “love using Alexa on Echo devices to simplify meeting room experiences and have asked us to enable the same experiences on their existing equipment”.

“We are excited to be working with device makers to bring the power of Alexa to our customers through the devices they already use around the office. Customers get all the benefits of Alexa for Business without having to install any new hardware,” he said.

Amazon said it was working with devices makers such as  Plantronics, iHome, and BlackBerry, and solution providers like Linkplay and Extron to bring Alexa to workplaces.

The Alexa for Business capabilities is provided as an extension to the AVS Device SDK, starting with version 1.10, available to download from Github. Device manufacturers can learn more about enabling existing Alexa built-in devices with Alexa for Business as shared devices here.