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November 30, 2017updated 04 Dec 2017 9:01am

AWS pitches Alexa for Business, talks up cloud security credentials

Alexa breaks free from its consumer shackles, but will it be able to make it as a business tool?

By James Nunns

After a bumper day of announcements from AWS CEO Andy Jassy yesterday at the company’s re:Invent conference, Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon took charge to launch Alexa into the business.

Typically seen as a consumer device, the Amazon Echo is now being aimed at the business market with Alexa for Business, a fully managed service that can be used to manage all the Echo devices in a business and “the unique skills you might have at work, maybe skills uniquely developed for your business itself,” according to the Amazon CTO.

Vogels said that the system is setup to work in conference rooms thanks to integration with Cisco and Polycom, “so you no longer have to type in a conference ID because it knows what meetings you’re in.”



The managed service will also offer integration with Salesforce so that questions can be asked against it.

Developers will be able to develop skills just as they would normally but this time for their own business. This would mean things like company calendar information could be requested or details on specific accounts.

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There’s also going to be help to connect to personal devices. Users will be able to allow Alexa to help make phone calls and send messages, help to schedule meetings, manage to-do lists, and set reminders.

It should come as no surprise that this wasn’t the only announcement from AWS, given its penchant for making dozens at a time. The latest release, AWS Cloud9 is a cloud IDE for writing, running, and debugging code and is in GA today.

Vogels prefaced the announcement by saying, “there is no excuse to not use encryption anymore,” and saying that encryption is the “key” to controlling access your data.

Some of the big perks of Cloud9 is that it allows for collaborative editing, is deeply integrated into AWS, and will come with built in support for languages like Javascript, Python, PHP and more.

The service will give developers the ability to create cloud environments and new instances from Cloud9, in addition to letting users debug Lambda functions.

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