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Specialty apparel retailer has new ‘assistant:’ Amazon’s Alexa

Now that Amazon’s voice-assistant Alexa supports business tasks, Brooks Brothers is wasting no time putting it to work.

The specialty apparel retailer is an early adopter of Alexa for Business, a new service from Amazon Web Services (AWS). The intelligent assistant is designed to automate and simplify tasks across the enterprise — in conference rooms, at associates’ work spaces and around the office.

Business users can set up shared Alexa devices in common areas around the workplace, including conference rooms, huddle rooms, lobbies, and communications centers. The AWS Management console manages devices, enrolls users, and assigns skills to automate tasks in each location.

Brooks Bros. was already a long-time user of AWS’ managed service Amazon Chime, a video and audio conferencing service that lets users chat and share content. Alexa for Business is a natural extension of AWS’ services.

“We are using Alexa to simplify our conference room experience,” said Philip Miller, CISO, Brooks Brothers. “Alexa takes care of all the details by allowing us to begin meetings with the simple voice command, ‘Alexa, start the meeting.' Not only does Alexa for Busi-ness make it easy for me to provision and manage Echo devices throughout my office, but also configure them to work with Amazon Chime and my existing conference room AV/VC equipment.”

In addition to starting conference calls, Alexa for business also controls conference room equipment, schedules meetings, keeps track of tasks, and can reorder supplies. The technology can also be tailored with custom “private” voice-enabled skills that integrate within a cus-tomer’s IT applications and office systems.

Amazon is making it easy for other retailers to leverage Alexa for Business through a starter kit that includes three Amazon Echo (second generation) devices for use in conference rooms; two Echo Dots (second generation) devices for controlling equipment in large conference rooms, and two Echo Show devices for desktop use, according to AWS.
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