Announcing Room Booking for Alexa for Business
Alexa for Business launched at re:Invent in 2017 with the mission to help workers be more productive using Alexa. Thousands of customers, like Condé Nast, have deployed Alexa-enabled endpoints throughout their organizations in a wide array of scenarios. One of the most popular features is using Alexa to control conference room equipment and start meetings with the single voice command of “Alexa, join the meeting.” Customers have told us that their users love this feature – their meetings start effortlessly and on time. But customers have also told us they want to use Alexa to book conference rooms for meetings, so we’re excited to announce our next voice feature in the workplace: Room Booking.
It’s a common workplace experience walking from room to room to grab space for an ad-hoc meeting or finding a new space for one that has run over. This task often requires the user to pull out their laptop, open a new application, run a search, and sift through results. Now, users can ask Alexa if the conference room they are in is free, and book it.
All Alexa for Business customers have the Room Booking feature enabled once they link their calendar provider with read/write permissions. Now your users can check availability of the conference room they are currently in by asking “Alexa, is this room free?” If it’s available, they can schedule it on-the-fly by saying, for example, “Alexa, book this room for half an hour.” Conference rooms that are empty might actually be reserved in the calendar. So Alexa can also confirm who owns the room reservation by asking “Alexa, who booked this room?”
For information about how to grant the appropriate read/write calendar permissions, see our documentation. Existing customers must re-link their calendars if they use G-Suite or Office 365, and Microsoft Exchange customers must update their permissions to allow writing to their resource calendars.
Room Booking API, coming soon in beta
We’ve learned that many customers have built or invested in various tools and solutions to help their employees reserve shared office spaces. To help these customers use voice as a natural, intuitive way to interact with these solutions, we are announcing the Room Booking API, an addition to the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK). Several solution providers including Joan and Robin are already building a skill to bring voice to their offering.
The Room Booking API lets you take advantage of Alexa’s native voice user interface (VUI) and allow users to get reservations, create reservations, and find available rooms. To learn more and apply for the Preview, click here.