Alexa is coming to the workplace, maybe even yours.
Amazon announced on Thursday that its digital voice assistant will soon book appointments and take office calls as part of a new service called Alexa for Business.
The push aims to extend the online giant’s wide lead over rivals like Apple's Siri, Google's Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana as competition heats up in a market that analysts say could transform the way people interact with technology.
In addition to all the same functions that Alexa performs through home Echo devices—temperature adjustments, light settings, kitchen management—Amazon is working with a variety of enterprise companies like video conferencing firm Polycom and travel and expensing system Concur to design work-specific tasks. Companies can also build their own through Amazon’s developer platform.
Some of the businesses signed on to implement the new service at launch include Capital One, Brooks Brothers, and WeWork. Each company that signs up for the plan will get a starter pack consisting of three Echo devices meant for conference rooms, two miniature Echo Dots to control equipment around the office, and two of Amazon’s new video-enabled Echo-show devices.
Amazon’s Echo is the overall leader in the voice-enabled speaker market, but Microsoft has already made in-roads into the office version with Cortana integration into some of its various enterprise tools. Still, Amazon could use its high-profile partnerships and the ubiquity of its Amazon Web Services cloud to build an infrastructure of workplace services that will solidify its place in the business enterprise space.