Talking To Machines: How Alexa And Siri Could Save Your Workspace

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AI conversational interfaces will be a game-changer for the new world of work.
  • Voice-enabled enterprise applications are starting to appear in the market.
  • Voice tech is contactless and provides a personalised, human-like member experience.
  • AI conversational interfaces will be a game-changer for the new world of work.

Chatbots and voice assistants have changed the way we interact with machines. But as humans and computers start to speak the same language, a lot of fascinating enterprise applications are starting to emerge for voice-enabled tech.

There are a wealth of transcription and translation services now available, for example. You can also manage your schedule and book appointments by invoking your omnipresent voice assistant. And the Capacity knowledge management platform helps organisations mine data — but then makes this information available to staff via a chatbot.

But what does this mean for the world of flexible workspaces? What’s the next voice-enabled tech to help your space?

Boost your member experience

Conversational interfaces — chatbots and voice assistants — give workspaces the opportunity to build powerful relationships with their members, particularly in our socially distant times.

How? You can now interact with your members using smart speakers. Members could use smart speakers to ask your staff questions, for example, or you could broadcast notifications to your members. Plus, your members don’t even need to leave their desks, helping you with social distancing measures.

Voice-activated technology is also contactless, allowing you to replace commonly touched objects, like elevators and coffee machines, with a voice-activated machine.

This may sound like a bit of an odd concept but research reveals that voice assistants and other contactless technologies are predicted to be top investments for organisations in the years ahead. Alexa for Business is already available, for example, providing businesses with an out-of-the-box solution.

These enterprise voice assistants can help you streamline your workspace. Conversational interfaces like Alexa for Business could help your members run their meetings more efficiently by, for example, allowing attendees to find documents or data with one, simple vocal command. “Alexa, what were last year’s sales figures?” could save members a lot of wasted time and effort digging out such stats.

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    Conversational interfaces can also monitor meeting room utilisation, automatically releasing booked but unused rooms. Alexa for Business even tracks meeting metrics like attendance rate, most (and least) used rooms, helping you optimise your space. You can even build custom functionality (called ‘skills’) to further adapt Alexa to your workspace’s needs.

    Enter the conversational AI

    Tomorrow’s conversational AI technologies step things up a gear, compared to today’s Alexas and Siris, with the potential to provide a highly personalised and even more human-like experience.

    Chatbots are an early example of conversational AI. But next-generation conversational AI brings together multiple technologies, potentially creating a highly personalised and context-aware conversational experience for your members. In basic terms, you talk to a machine, and the machine talks back.

    Behind the scenes, things are far more complicated. But Accenture predicts people will talk to machines to get information, make a transaction, operate and control devices, and have fun and entertain themselves in the near future. Enterprise use cases are already starting to appear. Unilever, for example, recently created the UNA enterprise chatbot, helping staff find information about its processes, systems and content resources by simply asking a question.

    Another striking example is Replika AI – a companion app where (you guessed it) your companion is an AI-enabled “friend” (for want of a better expression). Basically, it’s an avatar that learns to talk to you, “a space where you can safely share your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, experiences, memories, dreams – your ‘private perceptual world’,” according to the company website.

    Such systems are in the early stages of development but, for flexible workspaces, this could open up a new paradigm where members chat with AI avatars, allowing you to focus on other, value-added activities.

    Or, maybe, you could start thinking about accepting your first AI member? In today’s digital and physically distanced world, you may not even notice the difference…

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