“Alexa, where’s my stuff?”
“Hey Google, when’s my next appointment?”
“Siri, do I have any tasks left before I can go home for the day?”
Can you imagine a workplace where your employees are chatting with their virtual assistants daily? Virtual assistants have become ubiquitous in homes, and almost every family uses some sort of virtual assistant, smart speaker, or smart home hub on a daily basis. While these devices continue to gain in popularity for home use, most businesses haven’t adopted them yet. There are a number of factors that come into play when determining whether or not to use a virtual assistant in the office, including the need for improved security and remote monitoring to ensure your business data is safe when employees use virtual assistants. In this blog, we take a closer look at the use of virtual assistants for business and how they can be incorporated to streamline and improve workflow, employee efficiency, and task management.
First & Foremost – Are Smart Speakers & Virtual Assistants Secure?
They can be. This doesn’t mean that your smart device is business-information-ready out of the box. Small businesses should always take care to create private networks and monitor devices and internet security to ensure that their business, employee, and client information is protected. With a good network security plan in place, any device can be used safely for business.
How Can a Virtual Assistant be Used for Business?
The next question many business owners have about virtual assistants in the office is, “How can my business use this technology?” Truthfully, the only limit to the use of virtual assistants for business may be your own imagination. Many tech and business researchers are predicting that your next business phone will actually be a smart speaker. Amazon and Google have started developing hardware and software components that allow businesses to easily make and screen phone calls, conference with employees and clients around the globe, and even record and monitor service calls.
In addition to streamlining communications, virtual assistants can also:
- Make purchases or sell products
- Answer questions for visitors to your office
- Book appointments
- Send reminders
- Control your thermostat
- Lock and unlock doors
- Monitor security
- And more
Alexa VS Google VS Siri VS Everything Else – Which is Best for Business?
Each virtual assistant and the various connected devices (speakers, smart hubs, cellphones, etc.) have their own benefits. With a little digging online, you can find product reviews and recommendations that support the use of each virtual assistant for your business. After some scouring, we found many pros and cons for using each virtual assistant. Below, we’ve included the top selling point of each major option (Alexa, Google, and Siri) to help guide your decision making:
IT ArchiTeks Can Help You Make the Most of Your Business Tech
- Alexa – Recently, Amazon released the Alexa for Business Blueprints app. This app gives your company the ability to create custom, voice-powered skills for your virtual assistant. Some of the ideas they recommend include creating interactive FAQ menus for guiding clients who visit your office with answers to questions like, “Where are the elevators?” and “What time do they open?” Alexa for Business Blueprint gives you functionality to create skills that are unique to your business.
- Google – Google makes performing a quick search, setting reminders, assigning tasks, and performing a variety of other business processes as easy as, “Hey, Google?” Not to mention Google is one of the most often used email and chat providers, so relying on a Google-powered virtual assistant seamlessly links these tools.
- Siri – If your business runs on Mac and the majority of your employees use MacBooks, iPhones, and other Apple products, you should consider a HomePod, Apple’s answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Nest. This device makes it easy to link all of your individual devices, keep track of appointments, and streamline office communication.
At the end of the day, the right virtual assistant is as unique as your business, but using these virtual assistants is only going to become more ubiquitous in the coming years. Even if you choose to forego a virtual assistant for your office, you may want to take time to learn more about how to leverage these devices for your business. Whether you develop a compatible app or optimize your website content for voice search, the growing use of virtual assistants should definitely be part of your business plan. At IT ArchiTeks, helping businesses incorporate the latest technologies into their offices is an important part of what we do. If you’re interested in learning more about how IT ArchiTeks can help your business with all of its technology needs, give us a call today. One of our knowledgeable business associates will be happy to help.