Is Amazon Echo the next enterprise IoT platform?

amazon echo
Credit: Amazon

Amazon Echo has become one of the most popular technologies in the consumer market and is starting to transform the enterprise as well. Its rich platform capabilities and ecosystem, makes Amazon Echo one of the most disruptive technologies in the next wave of enterprise IoT solutions.

Amazon Echo is rapidly capturing the hearts and minds of users around the world. The rise of Echo has been so impressive that Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak recently called it the next big platform. As conversational interfaces become one of the most important trends in the next generation of computer technologies, Amazon Echo has the opportunity to lead the charge.

Even though the emergence of Amazon Echo in the consumer market has been nothing short of remarkable, we believe the platform has an equal, if not brighter future in the enterprise. In addition to its impressive conversational interface capabilities, Amazon Echo includes very particular capabilities that makes it an ideal option to power the next generation of IoT solutions in the enterprise.  

Factors that will make Amazon Echo a winner in the enterprise

Conversational platforms seem like an obvious choice for the next generation of enterprise mobile and IoT applications. However, in order to effectively venture into the enterprise, a conversational interface platform needs to provide the right combination of capabilities that can adapt voice processing interfaces to business scenarios. The very unique DNA of Amazon Echo combines characteristics that can make the platform a foundational piece of the next wave of business applications. Let’s examine some of those characteristics.

Alexa Skills Kit

Alexa Skills Kit SDK is the main extensibility mechanism of Amazon Echo and one of the aspects that differentiates the platform from other conversational interface solutions. Using the SDK, developers can design new voice commands that interact with Web Services or AWS Lambda functions to perform specific tasks. From extending SaaS systems with voice interfaces or streamlining existing business processes using voice commands, the Alexa Skills Kit provides the model to adapting Amazon Echo to enterprise scenarios. 

Alexa Voice Service & device ecosystem

Alexa Voice Service (AVS) exposes conversational interface capabilities to connected devices. In just a few months, Amazon has developed an impressive ecosystem of device manufacturers that are incorporating voice processing capabilities into their products. This ecosystem is likely to expand into enterprise smart devices as Amazon Echo expands its footprint in business scenarios.

AWS integration

Amazon Echo’s close integration with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform is another aspect that makes the platform immediately relevant in the enterprise. By leveraging AWS services, developers can extend Amazon Echo with extremely sophisticated capabilities in areas such as storage, data analytics, messaging, integration, etc.

Developer community

In a very short time, Amazon Echo has managed to build a very impressive developer community. This factor makes it easier for organizations to hire developers that incorporate conversational interfaces powered by Amazon Echo into their applications. 

Industry solution ecosystem

The extensible capabilities of Amazon Echo, the integration with AWS, and the AWS partner ecosystem are some of the factors conspiring to facilitate the implementation of industry-specific solutions that leverage conversational interfaces.

Industries that can be transformed with Amazon Echo

Healthcare

There are many healthcare business scenarios that can be extended or redefined using Amazon Echo. Providing immediate information to patients via voice commands or extending how surgeons and medical personal interact in an operating room via voice interfaces are some of the key scenarios in the healthcare industry that can be improved using Echo.

Public safety

Police officers, firefighters, and other public safety workers are constantly operating under extreme conditions in the field without the luxury to access information via a touch screen interface. Amazon Echo drastically extends the capabilities of public safety software solutions by providing conversational interfaces that will allow workers to access information or take actions via voice commands.

Defense

Soldiers and other defense personnel often operate in very difficult settings in which access to information can be the difference between life and death. Amazon Echo can be used as the conversational interface to interact with relevant data during military operations using voice models.

Manufacturing

Amazon Echo can be leveraged to build the foundation of the next generation of applications in a manufacturing plant. Voice command is a natural mechanism to interact with information and take action in a manufacturing plant. By integrating Amazon Echo with manufacturing systems, enterprises can provide another level of automation in manufacturing processes via voice interfaces.

Education

Amazon Echo can help evolve student interaction in a classroom or laboratory to the next level. By enabling access to information via conversational interfaces, students can ask questions or navigate through exercises using natural language interfaces that can even be extended to outside the classroom.

What’s needed to make Echo enterprise ready?

By now, I hope you are convinced of the potential of Amazon Echo to become one of the next big enterprise IoT platforms. However, the transformation from a consumer to an enterprise technology is far from an easy endeavor. Some capabilities such as security, access control, or integration with enterprise systems are required to streamline the adoption of Amazon Echo as part of enterprise IoT solutions. Despite the challenges, Amazon Echo appears to have carefully developed all the foundational capabilities in order to guarantee a very bright future in the enterprise IoT space.

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