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Amazon Alexa Workplace test with WeWork paused; high use at Amazon



Meanwhile, Amazon is quick learning how popular Alexa can be among its own employees.

In a pilot program launched earlier this year, Amazon saw more than half of its meetings – 53 percent to be talking to the Alexa voice assistant, instead of manually typing in the call-in information on the existing touch panel, according to to internal data obtained by CNBC.

In addition, meetings have started in under nine seconds on average, the data show.

The results, which come from June, are based on a pilot program that installed Alexa for Business in 698 conference rooms across 5 different Amazon buildings in Seattle. The program is run by AWS Product Adoptions, a team that tests AWS products internally before deploying them more widely.

The quick adoption of Alexa for Business among Amazon employees shows the huge potential of voice technology in the workplace.

But Amazon could bring that type of broader adoption externally as well, if they were to more aggressively promote and clarify Alexa's Business's positioning as a business tool, as many businesses still remain unaware of Alexa's capabilities at work, according to Jon Kleinschmidt, CEO of Obindo, another early partner of the Alexa for Business program.

For example, Kleinschmidt said that his customers tend to ask more frequently about Obindo's integration with tools like email and messaging apps compared to its Alexa skill. Obindo, a software that surfaces company information like who's in charge of certain projects with a simple command, works with simple voice queries on Alexa. But when Kleinschmidt shows this feature to customers, a common response is "We did not even think about Alexa in the office," he said.

Kleinschmidt said it would help raise awareness of Alexa's potential in the commercial space if Amazon ran stronger marketing campaigns for Alexa for Business, noting how most ads about Alexa are focused on consumer use cases.

"People's eyes just light up when we show them how they can use Obindo inside of Alexa," he said. "I would love to see Amazon tell more of those stories that really capture people's imaginations."

One Amazon employee, who agreed to talk with CNBC on the not being named because he's not authorized to talk about the issue, said Alexa for Business is a convenient tool to start meetings, significantly shortening the time to dial-in all participants. But he also noted that its use case is still mostly limited to basic features, like starting meetings or dimming the room lights.

Kleinschmidt, at Obindo, said that the quick adoption at the most basic level of starting meetings with voice expected. But given the level of Alexa's sophistication and ability to offer more intelligent data, Amazon would be "leaving a lot on the table" if it did not further promote its capabilities, he said.

"This platform is about so much more than making meetings run slightly more efficiently," he said.


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