“Alexa, schedule a meeting with Tom Gilliam!” or “Alexa, move my meeting at 10 a.m to 2:45 p.m tomorrow!” Can you imagine managing your schedule at the office being as simple as... uttering a voice command? Now it is that easy! Since now we have the Alexa Smart Scheduling Assistant!
It's no more than the famed voice assistant upgraded now with voice-enabled task automation enhancements geared at:
… 1:1 meetings on your calendar!
And you must surely agree that scheduling your one-on-one meetings or re-scheduling them, is a significant drain on productivity:
- too much time
wasted oninvested in scanning your own calendar, looking for some “free spots”
- … doing all the “mixing and matching” to synchronize the free times in your schedule with your business partner's own free time
- and eventually going through this tedious process if (God forbid!) something turns up and you have to reschedule the meeting
Now it's time to go from manually scheduling & moving your meetings on your calendar to... managing your schedule automatically. Through simple Alexa voice commands!
But let's put into the spotlight this new feature added to the Alexa for Business service and see:
- how it works precisely
- what enhancements it brings, since Alexa has been able to schedule meetings for some time now, after all
- what new features for boosting your workplace productivity to expect from this cloud-based voice assistant
Alexa Smart Scheduling Assistant: How Does It Work?
First of all, there are 2 basic conditions that need to be met in order to leverage this new enhancement:
- your calendar should be linked to your Alexa account
- those in your contact list should have... email addresses
… since Alexa's suggested meeting times, along with the calendar invites, get sent through to their email address.
Ok, now that we've settled this matter, let's imagine a scenario where you'd tap into the newly enhanced Alexa Smart Scheduling Assistant:
You need to schedule a critical one-on-one meeting ASAP. Therefore, you utter your voice command and Alexa handles the rest: it will scan both your calendar and the other person's calendar and suggest the times when both of you are free.
“But what if there are 2 or more people with the same name in my contact list?” you might ask yourself.
“How will my Alexa Smart Scheduling Assistant know which one I want it to arrange a meeting with?”
A valid question, indeed!
In that case, Alexa will ask you to point out precisely which one of those contacts you'd like it to schedule a meeting with.
Now, can you imagine just how much time you'd save by automating this whole process? And since we're talking about voice-enabled task automation, there's no need for you to put on hold the task that you are working on in order to schedule a meeting.
Another great aspect of this new skill added to Alexa's Smart Scheduling Feature — bubbling up to the user/employee's experience — is its easy integration with other workplace collaboration (and productivity) tools.
I'm referring here to Microsoft Office 365, to G Suite, to Exchange calendars.
And extended integration capabilities are a must for any AI assistant to secure its future in a workplace. In an enterprise...
But Hasn't Alexa Been Able to Schedule Meetings Already?
True, true, we've been able to schedule, re-arrange and cancel meetings and appointments with Alexa for some time now.
What's different about the Alexa Smart Scheduling Assistant is that:
- it enables you to schedule 1:1 meetings, with specific contacts from your list based on your availability; it prompts suggestions based on the free times detected in your calendars
- … to move meetings on your calendar just by using voice commands
In other words, you gain even more control over your schedule management and more valuable time, as well.
Not to mention that you'll inevitably cut down on the efforts that manually scheduling your meetings would have called for.
What Next? What Other Workplace Productivity Capabilities to Expect?
Now that it's made its big entrance in the office collaboration space, we expect the Amazon team to work on boosting Alexa's workplace presence.
Considering that Google and Microsoft have already been assisting us with our tasks, at work, for some time now.
Still, the Alexa Smart Scheduling Assistant is already a big step ahead of its competition:
None of the other vendors has yet managed to upgrade their own AI assistants with voice-enabled task automation enhancements! Despite the fact that scheduling meetings has been known to be one of the major drains of productivity at a workplace.
Alexa has managed that!
Moreover, the team's working on new capabilities to make it even more competitive in a workplace:
- providing “intelligent” summary for actionable items
- recording and transcribing the scheduled meetings
- completing tasks
So, how about taking Smart Scheduling “for a spin”? How about actually testing the convenience of scheduling your next meetings by using nothing but... your voice?
This way, you'll get to see for yourself precisely how much valuable time you'll save.