Exploring Business Uses for Smart Speakers

business uses for smart speakers

Business uses for smart speakers

The market for voice skills is growing swiftly, but there is a much larger potential market for business uses for smart speakers. Millions of homes and offices already have smart speakers in place, but to date, their use has focused on top-level informational queries or novelty uses. In contrast, that is expected to change rapidly as organizations realize and embrace how voice can be integrated into core data sources. This includes hands-free data input and next-level data queries; Artificial Intelligence-driven insights, and custom personalized user experiences for customers. 
According to Voicebot.ai, in the US alone, nearly 50 million people have access to smart speakers. Many businesses have initial voice apps successfully set up and running. The number of voice apps for Alexa exceeds 100,000 and keeps growing. The differentiator for voice skills, as opposed to smartphone applications, is the greatly reduced friction in use. Where users must first download and install an app on a smartphone, voice skills can be called into use simply by asking for it by name. As Alexa and Google Assistant are both cloud-based voice assistance platforms, end-users don’t have to worry about the number of voice apps they use.  There are also no device-specific performance impacts that diminish the user experience. 

Smart speakers explained

A Smart Speaker is a voice-activated, smart assistant which helps in various useful activities like scheduling an appointment or requesting the weather forecast for the day. Smart speakers can also be used as the controller for connected smart devices, enabling users to control lights, door locks, and even entertainment systems.
The Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod are examples of smart speakers and they all use their integrated smart voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri respectively. They are operated using voice-activated commands. For example, using a Google Home, you might just say “OK Google, play my favorite song.”
For the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, Alexa Skills and Google Actions are the “special sauce” that enables these small, discreet devices to do so much using just your voice. Skills and Actions are very similar to the apps you find on your smartphone. Instead of tapping on an icon on your smartphone screen, you “launch” the skill or action by calling it by name. This “naming” of a skill or action is an important consideration for business interests, in that it can personify your business brand in a way that has never before been seen. Instead of looking up a phone number or searching for a website, users can simply and directly “ask” your brand for something using their smart speaker. For example:
  • “Alexa, ask Marco’s Pizza to order my favorite pizza.”
  • “Ok Google, ask Rosie’s Wines what pairs well with salmon.”
  • “Alexa, ask City Library when my books are due.”
Having a business skill for smart speakers enables you to cut through layers of technology and simply use the power of voice to get to the heart of what your customers want.

Voice as a business strategy

Voice is an influential tool as it works for both mediums as an input and output. These skills and actions are the part of revolutionary technological shift, enabling businesses and brands to have a direct channel of communication to their customers through voice commands. Voice as input is most helpful in those cases where the users are preoccupied with a task, and voice as output is where users can consume information just by listening. Hence voice as both input and output can work exceptionally well for businesses.
What does such a transformational scenario mean for your business?
With smart voice skills at present, how can you leverage the technology for your business benefit? Regardless of any industry, organizations should start experimenting with voice. The smart speaker is not only disrupting how people use technology at home but is also changing the business world by simplifying common tasks performed in the workplace. Brands that can establish themselves early in this space will have the first-mover advantage. For this reason, developing your skills is a ground-breaking path to follow for any brand.

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Smart speakers for business use

Smart assistants can help in managing business tasks with increased efficiency. In fact, options and opportunities for business applications are even broader than consumer use cases. To harness the platform, consider your specific business use cases. Would your workplace benefit from hands-free data input? Are there safety concerns that preclude the use of smartphones and tablets? Perhaps key business metrics could be delivered by voice – with a simple request? Think of voice assistants as a way to automate and streamline repetitive tasks and duties for your workforce. Business uses for smart speakers can include helping employees to stay focused, prepared, and organized, eventually leading to boosts in productivity.
business uses for smart speakers
Current use cases trend towards consumer tasks, pointing to significant opportunity for workforce and B2C use cases.

Here are some business uses for smart speaker ideas that can be put to use within an organization to improve workforce effectiveness. 

Simplifying conference room meetings

Alexa Skills and Google Actions can be created for conferencing devices where employers can install smart voice devices at their workplace. They are placed in conference rooms to launch and control the conferencing systems. When the device is installed, the skill syncs with Google Calendar and assists in identifying the next scheduled conference call. It gives the employees the benefit of voice access to their business calendars, meetings and the facility to control the conferencing equipment.

Connecting employees

Employees can attend meetings having smart speakers placed on their desks. It’s a great advantage for those working on small and medium-sized companies. They can have their own devices at offices to help them enhance their productivity by managing their calendars, to-do lists and access to other personal skills irrespective of whether they are in their office or home. Voice assistant devices lets you ensure that all are connected while the conference is on.

Updating to-do lists & tracking tasks

Entrepreneurs can use Alexa and Google Actions to schedule items that can be accessed easily through Alexa & Google apps. Using a voice skill, you can set calendar reminders which will prompt Alexa to notify you just before the scheduled meeting.

Managing travel itineraries

Voice assistants can help in organizing business travels such as tracking flight booking status, keeping an update of flight history. Using the skill, the employees can plan a business trip, get notifications for flight delays and cancellations. Customized skills assist in the mapping of seats, tracking the weather updates and to have complete coordination over the travel experience.

Smart inventory management

The skills and actions could be used in managing inventory efficiently. Reports of inventory data could be easily accessed from anywhere, anytime, without having to fiddle with complex software or spreadsheets.

Expense Tracking

Expense tracking is an important activity of any business. Alexa skills like Expense Manager helps the users to log, analyze and gain insights on their activity.

Voice & Analytics metrics

The skills and analytics page on Amazon developer console, Google console lets the user track all the useful information regarding the skill. It gives useful information about how the skill is performing and how customers are using it.

Secrets of building an amazing smart voice skill

  • A good skill or action should combine convenience with speed.
  • It should have smooth interaction flow leading to personalized communication with target customers.
  • A voice skill should provide fresh content to drive the user to use the skill more frequently.
  • The user must be able to interact with the skill irrespective of the location.

For a skill and action to perform among the audience, things to be kept in mind are:

  • The skill/action should be able to solve a real problem
  • The skill should be a pleasure to interact with
  • it should be constantly reliable

For those who are looking to the future, developing a useful skill that meets the customer’s requirements can be an effective way to support your business mission. Need a little help getting started with a voice (marketing) strategy for your business? Contact VOGO Voice today to get your skill ready. We can guide you right from idea creation to deployment with our expertise.

VOGO Voice designs and builds engaging voice skills for industries including education, civic, transportation, business, and nonprofits using our robust voice user interface platform that allows data integration and in-depth customization. VOGO Voice build you the best of class voice app that is compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Get in touch with our professional team today to hand your citizens, customers, and workforce a high-definition voice-activated solution to keep pace with their demand.