In a further boost to its Alexa voice assistant, Amazon has announced support for Office 365 calendars. The move comes as part of Amazon’s drive to expand Alexa from becoming a personal assistant in the full sense of the word.
Alexa is quite capable. And it’s abilities, or perhaps skills would be a better word, are growing exponentially. From having less than 150 skills in January last year, Alexa now offers support for over 10,000. However, quite a lot of them are focused upon things like music, news, entertainment — in short, capabilities you would be likely to call upon while you are lounging in bed rather than when you are sitting down to do some work for your office.
Amazon wants to correct it. There are several reasons behind the why, including the fact that a few other virtual assistants like Google’s, already have this ability — courtesy the close, interconnected ecosystem — and where the battle between virtual assistants is concerned, everyone is striving to have the most to offer. Amazon doesn’t really have a particularly large ecosystem to call upon just yet so, it has been partnering up with others and adding the same.
While Google calender was supported since launch, Amazon added support for Outlook Calendar quite recently. And now, it is expanding to include the business focused Office 365 calendar as well.
To use the service, you are going to have to be an Office 365 commercial customer. Provided that you are one, you can link you calendar by visiting settings in the Alexa application. Once done, you will be able to call upon Alexa to provide you with updates and even add meetings simply by using your voice. For instance, you could say stuff like “Alexa,add a 10’O clock meeting with the psychiatrist to my calender”. You can even take a quick look at your schedule for the day by saying “Alexa, what’s on my calendar?”.
The addition is certainly noteworthy. After all, we were already talking about voice identification. So imagine this, every team has their own Alexa at their office and since it can recognize their individual voices, members of the team can use it to fix their schedules, check availability of other members, order stuff, leave reminders for team mates and so on. Of course, voice ID may still be some time in coming but the addition of Office 365 calendar is certainly a big step towards making Alexa a voice you would like to have around your office as well.
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