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Amazon brings Alexa from home to office in a new AI push

WASHINGTON: Amazon announced Thursday it is bringing its Alexa digital assistant to the workplace, expanding artificial intelligence (AI) efforts that have gained traction in the home market.

“Alexa for Business brings the Alexa you know and love into the workplace to help all types of workers to be more productive and organized on both personal and shared Echo devices,” Tara Walker — of Amazon Web Services — said in a blog post.

“In the workplace, shared devices can be placed in common areas for anyone to use, and workers can use their personal devices to connect at work and at home.”

Amazon — which has taken the lead with its Alexa-powered devices for home automation and other services — said the digital assistant can help workers get directions around the office, report an equipment problem or order supplies.

“You can simply say, ‘Alexa, start the meeting,’ (and) Alexa turns on the video conferencing equipment, dials into your conference call, and gets the meeting going,” Walker said.

AI-assisted translations
The program can make phone calls, send messages or find information, according to Walker.

The announcement marks the latest push for Amazon in expanding its cloud-based computing offerings, which tie into the Alexa-powered devices.

Its voice-activated assistant has become the most popular for home hubs and has been integrated into televisions, cars, home appliances, and other devices.

Amazon made the announcement at its AWS re:Invent conference, where it revealed that Alexa and Alexa-enabled devices will be coming to Australia and New Zealand early next year.

The company also unveiled its cloud-based Amazon Translate service powered by artificial intelligence.

“Organizations and business now have the ability to expand products and services in other regions more easily by allowing consumers to access websites, information and resources in their preferred language using automated language translations,” said Walker.

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