If you are tech-savvy, or just like your convenience, you may already have a digital assistant (like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home) helping you to manage your schedule and stay on top of the news. But, could you bring all of those same features into your office?

History suggests that shift is inevitable. While iPads and Kindles were once used almost exclusively for entertainment, now they are invaluable tools for salespeople, business owners, and professionals of every stripe. With Amazon rolling out Alexa for Business, your next assistant could be a device that is always ready to listen, never misses a detail, and doesn’t take sick days.

Amazon isn’t the only company thinking digital assistants have a big professional future. Other device makers are getting in on the act, too, and Microsoft is seeking ways to make Cortana more helpful at work.

So, will you be asking Alexa to reorder office supplies or change your lunch meetings anytime soon? To find the answer, let’s look at why companies are turning to digital devices, what an automated assistant could do for you, and which hurdles still have to be cleared.

The Three Driving Forces Behind Digital Assistants in the Office

So will Alexa and her friends be making a bigger impact at work soon? They certainly follow some unmistakable trends driving us towards these kinds of technology.

The first has to do a processing power itself, which is constantly getting faster, cheaper, and smaller. The idea of talking to a small device and having it carry out administration functions for us used to be science fiction; now it’s an everyday occurrence.

On the software side of things, voice recognition software has gotten much better, and more consistent, in recent years. It’s not perfect, but the improvements make a digital assistant able to understand
everyday queries and requests.

And finally, users themselves are becoming more comfortable with the tools and devices that are available. Many business owners and executives already have them in their homes, and smartphones are acting more and more like personal assistants all the time.

What Could a Digital Assistant Do in Your Office?

As with anything else in the world of technology, the sky is probably the limit if you wait long enough. At the moment, though, there are some obvious ways a small business could use a digital assistant device in the office. These could include:

• Assisting with routine data entry
• Making, confirming, and rescheduling appointments
• Handling routine orders for everyday items
• Dictating emails or text messages
• Setting reminders or notifications
• Initiating conference calls and video chat sessions

Of course, this list will keep growing over time. The point is there are literally dozens of small, everyday parts of running a company that could be made easier, cheaper, or less time-consuming with the right technology.

So, Why Don’t More Businesses Have Digital Assistants Already?

Given all of these advantages, you might be wondering why you don’t already have Alexa or a competing product in your office. We predict you will soon, but there are still a few things holding businesses back from making a big transition to digital assistant devices.

One has to do with security. The products that are available right now can’t necessarily tell one user from another, meaning there is worry about fraudulent purchases, orders, etc. Also, some business owners or executives might have concerns about holding sensitive conversations or negotiations with a device in the room until there are better ways to turn off listening modes.

Additionally, we expect that the professional versions of Alexa, or Google Home, are going to have tools and features that fill specific business needs. So, it might make sense to wait until the second or third version when bugs have been removed and customer requests have been fulfilled.

Still, it’s only a matter of time before digital assistants become a mainstay of every office. If you’re wondering how you can use this technology now, or in the near future, talk to a member of the Fantastic IT team today so we can give you the answers you need!