Is your company jumping aboard the Smart revolution and giving you Alexa and Google Smart Home Assistant on your desk?
If you’re like me and need a quiet office in order to work you probably won’t appreciate the addition of a Smart Assistant right off, but they do have their advantages. However, they take commitment. Reading the installation ‘managing devices’ instructions for Alexa for Business would make a sensible person run away screaming, but I guess that’s what IT support are for.
However, if you survive that, the advantages of having an assistant there on your desk are many.
One of the most common uses for a Smart Assistant in our office is spelling. Rather than taking a stab in word and right-clicking when it comes up with a red line, we have people yelling things such as “Alexa, spell bureaucracy!” across the room. And as if to point out the fault of relying on Word to pick up your slack, it suggested ‘plutocracy’ when I tried and failed to spell bureaucracy.
Properly attaching Alexa or Google Assistant to your IT infrastructure gives you a whole raft of other options which it would have been someone in admin’s job to do before. Booking a meeting room and inviting people to the conference could be done through Outlook, or you can do it just by telling your Assistant what you want to do, with whom and when. And because some people don’t keep up to date with their emails minute to minute your Assistant can send a broadcast to everyone to remind them they have a meeting due a few minutes before hand.
Just Ask For Assistance
An Assistant makes it easier to find contacts as well. Provided your directories and distribution lists are kept up to date why not ask “OK Google, who’s the finance director in Acme products, and what’s their phone number?”
As well as that it can do all the other things that you would expect from a Smart Assistant. From flight and traffic information to controlling lights, music and heating, an assistant on your desk will help your pod be more productive. One problem you might encounter is placement. Put two too close together and you will find that they both start to respond to your questions. A simple way around this, besides placing them further apart, is to give them different names, with Alexa you can choose ‘Alexa’ ‘Dot’ ‘Echo’ etc. as the wake word. You can also use voice recognition so that your questions and requests are tailored specifically to each person using the device.
Voice recognition takes a little training, you need each person to spend some time talking to the Assistant so that it learns each individual’s tone and inflection, but once it’s done it improves results as you can speak to the Assistant quite naturally, using ‘I’ and ‘me’ when dictating tasks for it to carry out. In terms of online security you probably don’t want to tell it your password in case at some point in the future you forget it, but it’s not unreasonable to give it your password reminder, as asking for that will help you and nobody else.
As well as admin type tasks, an assistant can help immensely with environmental and security controls. Ask it to dim the lights, turn the air con up, show CCTV from the parking garage on your monitor or the office TV, the list of applications is endless.
Make IT Do The Jobs You Don’t Have Time For
Alongside being able to make appointment for you to do things, you can assign it tasks of its own, boring duties which have to be performed every day. From turning off any lights which have been left on to closing the blinds, turning all equipment to standby, putting the security monitors on along with motion detectors and sensors.
Take A Minute To Think About Meetings
Getting back to routine tasks, few people like taking the minutes at meetings, so get your Smart Home Assistant to do it instead. Use the speech to text software and you can have notes taken and displayed as a written transcript, audio recording or both which you can return to or share with other people who weren’t available at the time.
Google’s speech to text can currently detect 120 different languages, so it’s no stretch to use it to employ it as a translator, whether in person, on conference calls, or in order to relate text it took into another language for third party use. (Always be careful and double check automatic translations. As all sorts of embarrassing mistakes can be made if you don’t get it to read back what it thought it heard.)
Mentioned In Dispatches
If your business has a fleet of vehicles or you dispatch your products by land, sea or air then tracking can be synchronized with your assistant so that you know exactly where everything is wherever it is in its production and delivery journey. So when Karen from Doncaster phones in because she just placed an order you can tell her it’s been received and the goods are being picked using your Smart Home Assistant. Or when Dave from Coventry calls to see where his order is you can tell him it was shipped from China on which date, on which ship, and even tell him where that ship is and it’s ETA in the UK. Again, this kind of interface is very involved for most offices, but if your company relies on Just In Time production schedules knowing exactly where a particular part is can mean meeting or extending a deadline which might otherwise cost you the contract.
If you think a Smart network would help you in your office, be it at home, a small office or a business over several sites then get in touch with Briant Communications via our Contact Us page. We supply and install everything from cabling & fibre optic to CCTV, security alarms, environmental controls and audio visual equipment, all of which can be implemented to make your Smart network work.