AWS:reinvent 2017, held November 27 to December 1, 2017, lived up to its promise as \u201cAWS kept the announcements coming at a frenetic pace this week.\u201d\nAmongst the ones that interested me a lot was \u201cAmazon is putting Alexa in the office.\u201d\u00a0The reason that it piqued my curiosity was that amongst the first custom skill use cases that Alexa for Business touts as part of its\u00a0Alexa Skills Kit\u00a0is related to printers in an office environment (full disclosure: I work at Xerox):\n\u201cFor example, you could build a skill that lets a user report a printer problem to IT, and the skill could use the device location so that IT knows which printer is broken.\u201d\nReminds me of how Andy Slawetsky described what he saw at a Xerox new product launch event earlier in the year:\nDonna Davis of Vision-e showed us an app they built that adds these new Xerox copiers into the\u00a0Amazon Alexa ecosystem. Walk up to the machine and tell it to color copy 50 pages, two-sided and stapled and watch it go. I saw it work. Those of you that have an Alexa get how powerful this is. Those of you that don\u2019t, can\u2019t appreciate it properly until you try it. While it may look like a gimmick or just cool \u201cthing,\u201d it\u2019s much more. It\u2019s a true time-saver around the house, adding things to grocery lists without interrupting what you\u2019re doing, playing music, giving you the news and weather, looking things up for your, etc.\nTake that mentality to the office and ask yourself how much easier would it be for customers to walk up to the MFP, drop the documents in the feeder and say \u201cemail these to Andy,\u201d and it just does it. \u201cFile these invoices\u201d and they wind up in the system. There\u2019s some real opportunity here. Or authenticate with voice instead of a card you need to swipe every time. And guess what. Xerox didn\u2019t think of it. Xerox enabled it. This came from a dealer\u2019s development company.\nNot only has Xerox created a platform that enables their channel partners to customize the products while building net new recurring revenue streams, they\u2019ve gone further by allowing customers to develop their own apps. And this is what could put the MFP at another level.\nCheck out the cool video of Alexa voice recognition interacting with the Xerox Multifunction printer.\nGets even more interesting even more interesting when in addition to executing direct commands like "print copies" the voice agent uses its net connectivity and AI to actually find and deliver output "Alexa, can you print me the outstanding task list for my project" or "Alexa, print me a list of all vendors providing XYZ services." And then in the next incarnation both the voice agent and the printer become part of a seamless AI driven office workflow.\nVoice assistants have moved over from being just a fad to a legitimate office efficiency enhancement tool with the voice-recognition market estimated to\u00a0be over half-a-billion-dollar industry by 2019.\nGoogle, Siri, Alexa, Cortana are all very much upping the ante to bring voice control to the office of the future.\nAlexa getting into the office is not a great stretch of the imagination since starting from the home she had already made her way to our cars (You'll soon be able to start a Ford via Amazon Echo) and so it was just a small little hop, skip and jump to get into our offices.\nWhat does all this mean for you as the CIO or a technology leader:\n\nBe prepared to see voice\/speech recognition as part of the office and computational landscape as users increasingly interact with their devices via voice commands (CIO Network: Better Speech Recognition Coming Soon says Baidu\u2019s Andrew Ng). CIOs may be increasingly called upon to help other C-suite executives understand the ramifications of proliferation of this technology.\nVoice would also become an increasingly important part of how corporations interact with the external environment and CIOs will be tasked to ensure the technology works smoothly. (On the CIO circuit, Barbara Layton, telecommunications manager of California's Marin County, recounts her case study)\nBe mindful of the privacy and security challenges as a totally new dimension of sound opens up. (How voice recognition will affect privacy in the Internet of Things ; Alexa and Siri are vulnerable to 'silent,' nefarious commands) .\nHelp the business stakeholders figure out ways to make \u201cvoice\u201d an efficiency driver in existing business processes. (CIO Strategies: Four ways to explore the use of voice technology for your business.)\n\nBe ready! Alexa, Siri et al may be in your workplace soon.