Amazon’s Alexa for Business is teaming up with Zoom Rooms to offer an easier approach to hands-free meetings. Amazon’s Alexa integration is available for organizations of all sizes that support Zoom Rooms Appliances manufactured by DTEN, Logitech, Neat and Poly.
Using natural language — such as “Alexa, join my meeting” or “Alexa, find me an available room” — administrators have the ability to assist employees in focusing on the meeting instead of the technology, according to an Amazon press release.
“How we work is changing,” said Jeff Smith, head of Zoom Rooms at Zoom. “By integrating Alexa for Business into Zoom Rooms Appliances, we’re reducing friction for organizations as they look toward ways to bring back their employees safely.”
Zoom Rooms Appliances is a program launched by Zoom in 2019 that was intended to bring remote meeting room hardware to companies worldwide. It was originally rolled out in beta three months ago and is now ready for full immersion in the real world, according to the release.
As workers transition back to physical job locations, companies are considering how their technical infrastructure can work in a post-pandemic world. The desire for hands-free and voice-controlled meeting rooms has been a recurring theme, Zoom said. Before the pandemic, Gartner forecasted that by 2022, some 40 percent of formal meetings would be remote and facilitated by artificial intelligence (AI).
The Alexa for Business technology removes the need for touching screens, switching between technologies or remembering how to use different devices, per the release. Administrators can launch Alexa for Business within the Zoom Rooms portal without the need for additional hardware.
“By integrating directly into Zoom Rooms and not requiring any additional hardware, Alexa for Business has made it easy to deploy Alexa across a range of Zoom Rooms Appliances,” said Aaron Rubenson, VP of Amazon Alexa Voice Service and Alexa Skills. “Together, we are delivering an end-to-end solution to increase productivity, improve the meeting room and video call experience, and enable businesses to be voice-first.”
The return of business travel post-pandemic is uncertain due in part to technological changes like Zoom, Google Meet, Slack and Skype, which facilitate virtual meetings between colleagues. Predictions indicate that business travel could be considered superfluous.
Zoom rolled out $100 million in additional funding — between $250,000 and $2.5 million — to help software companies that build apps using its technology.
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