According to reports, WeWork decided that it will pause its effort to integrate Amazon Alexa for Business in its offices.
WeWork — which had been an early adopter of the service — had plans to put Alexa for Business devices in 500 of the conference rooms they manage worldwide. In 2017, the shared workspace company was apart of Amazon’s initial pilot program among a handful of other companies, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Mitsui & Co. The idea was that Alexa for Business could enhance employee productivity and collaboration.
“Virtual assistants, such as Alexa, greatly enhance the user experience and reduce the complexity in joining [conference] meetings,” Frost & Sullivan analyst Vaishno Srinivasan told TechTarget.
Alexa for Business can also come in handy when it comes to scheduling meetings, making hands-free calls, managing tasks and finding information on business apps like Salesforce and Concur. In addition, customers have the opportunity to create their own Alexa skills for internal use.
But as useful as the device might’ve seemed, the initial rollout was not as successful as Amazon would have hoped.
Earlier this year, Amazon ended it’s pilot program after only two months of it being in session. And as of November, reports suggested that WeWork has halted their plans to expand their usage of the product.
So what might be causing the holdup?
According to Irwin Lazar, who’s an analyst at Nemertes Research, adopting virtual assistants might not be at the top of the list for many of these companies.
“In our research, we aren’t seeing a lot of interest in virtual personal assistants or in using voice control in meeting spaces, primarily because IT leaders we speak with have higher priorities or don’t feel that the technology is ready yet,” he said.
Whatsmore, some businesses claim that there are some security risks when it comes to integrating voice activated AI. There’s concern that these devices could record confidential information and steal personal voice data.
Amazon is currently working to address these concerns, particularly when it comes to connecting personal devices to a business account. This way, only vetted accounts will have access to the system and entreprises will not have access to personal employee information.
Amazon is also hoping to expand their virtual assistant service to the hospitality and higher education sectors. But right now, the consumer giant is still trying to work out some kinks in the corporate world. WeWork, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Mitsui & Co. are no longer listed as customers on the Alexa for Business website.
While virtual assistants might have some exciting benefits in the workplace, it looks like it’s going to take some time for them to truly catch on.