When Amazon first released the interactive personal assistant Alexa, it is fair to say it was a much-ridiculed piece of technology. Using the latest in AI/Chatbot technology ‘she’ was initially seen as a bit of frivolous, domestic fun that was unlikely to offer much to your working life.
However, it quickly became apparent that this robotic PA had captured the imagination of very worthwhile business and social skills developers everywhere. And early Alexa purchasers are now vilified and irritatingly smug (we should know we pre-ordered ours for the release date).
With the ability to enable new skills by issuing a simple voice command – “Alexa, enable Mastermind Skill”, for example, her worth to the busy professional has multiplied exponentially.
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Here are our favourite Top 10 Alexa skills currently on offer, but remember new skills are being released all the time.
If you haven’t yet got yourself this chatty little companion, it might be time to jump on this AI bandwagon.
We mentioned this one early because it is a must-have skill.
Use Mastermind to deal with your SMS messages, locate your missing phone, check said phone’s battery life and so much more including toggling Bluetooth and Wifi on and off and opening Google Maps.
Always a bonus when a useful skill is released that interacts with our favoured staff collaboration app.
Link your Slack account to your Google account, and you are good to go.
Commands are simple, and Alexa can tell ChatBot to post to any of the channels you are a member of including private conversations.
Vital for the busy professional on the go, get up to the minute news headlines.
The app is kept current with hourly updates, and you will have a bite-size 5-minute briefing. Skills for BBC, CNN or Associated Press are also available.
If you do spend a lot of time in cabs, then this is the skill for you. Once implemented you can ask Alexa to hail you a ride, make a scheduled booking or cost out a theoretical journey.
All fares are deducted from your account so no more scrabbling for coinage.
Billing for services using time has often been a headache for businesses. Work Time Tracker allows you to accurately clock the amount of time you are spending on each task, and monitor how long staff are taking to complete work.
It makes for accurate billing and you can easily show the client what they are being charged for.
Another useful tool for making sure you are keeping on top of industry news. With over 3000 podcasts in the system, you can find anything you need to hear.
Pause, skip, pick up later or subscribe to a regular channel – the options are endless and very useful.
While we are on the subject of listening to casts, this is another excellent skill that plays you those cracking TED talks that you don’t want to miss.
Locate your speaker by name or topic area and let Alexa do the rest.
Knowing how well your website is performing is vital for sales and future planning. This awesome skill means you can immediately get the stats you need by simply asking Alexa.
Web Analytics syncs with Google Analytics and draws the information from there. You can zone in on any of the metrics, and your questions can relate to historical data or what is actually happening now.
Using your Google calendar, Alexa can avoid a scheduling conflict, add new appointments and ensure you add all the information needed to complete the calendar update.
Change the appointment length or stick to the original 50-minute slot allocated.
For the smart home or office, this skill does require the correct behind the scenes hardware to control your lights or heating but gives you the ability to ensure your home or office offers optimal working, or indeed relaxing, conditions.
What are your favourite Alexa Skills? Let us know in the comments below :)
One more tip: If you have an account with Amazon.de or any other country than where those skills are available, you just need to change the country and language settings of your account to access the skills you want.