Business Productivity

AWS Announces AI Powered Speech Analytics for Amazon Connect and Amazon Chime Business Calling at Enterprise Connect 2019

This week, AWS will be at Enterprise Connect where we are excited to hear from customers and meet with our partners. We are also announcing new capabilities for our contact center and communications services – Amazon Connect, Amazon Chime, Alexa for Business, and Amazon WorkDocs. To learn more about these new capabilities – read on.

Here at AWS, our customers tell us that the cloud is the new normal for running applications and services. Customers across virtually every industry, and of every size, including start-ups, enterprises, and public sector organizations are building their businesses and running every imaginable workload on AWS. The shift to the cloud is enabling our customers to innovate faster, driven by the availability of fast, reliable, secure infrastructure, instant global reach, the ability to scale up or down, and the cost savings they realize with pay-as-you-go pricing.

We also hear about how artificial intelligence is being used across a wide range of applications and workloads to improve outcomes. AI is helping us improve how we communicate. AI is helping us better meet our customers’ needs, and proactively resolve their problems. AI is also helping us build the workplaces of the future, with voice-based digital assistants like Alexa.

The News

This week, we are introducing new capabilities across four areas:

AI Powered Speech Analytics Solution for Amazon Connect (Preview)

Amazon Connect is a self-service, cloud-based contact center service that makes it easy for any business to deliver better customer service at lower cost. Businesses can leverage the same contact center technology used by 70,000 Amazon customer service associates around the world to power millions of customer conversations. Customers like Capital One, Rackspace, and Intuit are using Amazon Connect to better serve their customers, modernize their contact centers, and speed innovation.

Today, customer experience is more important than ever, and contact center agents are on the front lines when engaging with customers. The AI Powered Speech Analytics Solution for Amazon Connect provides insights from customers in real-time that help agents and supervisors better understand customer needs so that they can resolve their issues and improve their experience. The solution includes pre-trained AWS AI services that enable customers to transcribe, translate, and analyze each interaction with their customers, and uses that information to assist agents during their conversations.

The solution uses Amazon Transcribe to perform speech recognition and create a high-quality text transcription of each call into text, in real-time. Once text transcripts are available, the solution uses Amazon Comprehend to analyze the interaction and detect the sentiment of the caller, as well as identify key words and phrases in the conversation. Sentiment and key words are displayed to the agent, and key words can be used to search knowledge and CRM systems through an API to provide recommendations – all in real-time. Finally, Amazon Translate translates the conversation into an agent’s preferred language, which is useful in situations where agents are supporting multiple languages, to help them better understand the caller’s needs.

As with all AWS Solutions, the AI Powered Speech Analytics Solution for Amazon Connect is designed to help you get started faster, and it’s vetted by AWS architects. It includes detailed architecture information, a deployment guide, and instructions for both automated and manual deployment.

Customers can sign up for the preview today here. You see can this solution in action by watching this video demo, and you can read more in this blog post.

Amazon Chime: Business Calling and Voice Connector

Amazon Chime helps you meet, chat, and collaborate, backed by the security of AWS. Customers like Brooks Brothers, Hodges-Mace, and DXL use Amazon Chime to conduct online meetings, for video conferencing, for rich business chat, and to share content – all using the Amazon Chime app or web client.

Today, we are adding two new services to Amazon Chime to support business calling and text messaging. First, Amazon Chime Business Calling lets users text or call to over 100 countries, directly from within the Amazon Chime desktop, mobile, and web applications. Users place calls by dialing from the on-screen dial pad or by clicking on an Amazon Chime contact. Incoming calls will ring on all devices where a user is logged into Amazon Chime, and callers can leave a voicemail if there is no reply. Business Calling is easy to set up, and administrators can assign Business Calling features to individual Amazon Chime users as needed. Customers can purchase new telephone numbers, or port their existing numbers from their telecommunications provider. With Business Calling, customers pay for phone numbers, voice minutes, and text messages – with no additional per user fees, and there are no up-front payments or long-term commitments.

Amazon Chime Voice Connector is a service that enables inexpensive, secure telephone calling to and from over 100 countries from your on-premises phone system, using your internet connection or AWS Direct Connect. With Voice Connector, you can reduce your voice calling costs by up to 50% by eliminating fixed telephone network costs and simplifying your voice network administration. You can send some or all your traffic to Voice Connector, which lets you scale your usage up or down based on your business needs. Voice Connector is standards based and secure, using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to connect your phone system to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). As with Business Calling, Voice Connector customers pay only for the voice minutes and phone numbers they use, there are no upfront fees or long-term commitments.

Business Calling and Voice Connector are available today. To learn more and to get started, please see this blog post from the Amazon Chime team. Watch these videos to see how easy it is to configure Business Calling and Voice Connector.

Alexa for Business: New meeting room capabilities

Alexa for Business is a service that makes it easy to use Alexa at work, and provides customers the controls they need to manage Alexa devices and users from a central console. Customers like GE, Microstrategy, and Core Digital are using Alexa for Business to build smart workplaces, to improve employee productivity, and to create voice interfaces for their applications.

One of the things we have heard consistently from customers is that meeting rooms are cumbersome and clunky, and often cause meetings to be inefficient. We’ve been working hard to help solve these problems with Alexa for Business, and already customers can use Alexa to book conference rooms, schedule meetings, and join meetings – all by simply asking Alexa. Alexa for Business already works with many of the popular meeting services including Zoom, RingCentral, Skype for Business, and Amazon Chime, and conference room equipment including Poly, Cisco, Crestron, and Teem. Alexa can automatically start meetings, turn on conference room equipment, and get the meeting going – all with a simple request “Alexa, start the meeting”.

This week, we’re announcing new capabilities in two areas to bring Alexa to even more meeting-related scenarios. First, Poly is making Alexa available with the Poly Trio Conference Phone using Alexa Voice Service. With a simple firmware update, Poly Trio customers will have Alexa built-in, which means they can use Alexa to manage their meetings, control their calls, and access private skills, without additional hardware in their conference rooms. Customers can use Alexa for Business to manage what Alexa can do on these devices through the Alexa for Business console.

Second, we are announcing a room booking API as part of the Alexa Skills Kit, which lets customers and partners integrate their existing room booking systems with Alexa for Business. Two of the popular room booking providers – Joan and Robin – are using this API to build Alexa skills that work with their systems.

To read more about these new services, please see this blog post.

Amazon WorkDocs: WorkDocs Drive offline access and search

Amazon WorkDocs is a fully managed, secure content storage, sharing, and collaboration service. Customers such as Halliburton, Condé Nast, and Gateway Engineers use WorkDocs to store content, share files, and collaborate with peers and partners. Signet Maritime Corporation was able to replace their legacy on-premises network file shares using WorkDocs.

WorkDocs Drive is a feature of WorkDocs that gives users access to their files directly from Windows File Explorer or Mac Finder, without consuming valuable local disk space. Previously, users needed to be connected to the internet to use WorkDocs Drive, but today, we are adding offline access and search. Users can enable offline mode in the WorkDocs drive app, which lets them find and open files when they are not connected. Any changes made to files while offline will be synced back to WorkDocs when they are next online.

To learn more about this, please read this blog post from the Amazon WorkDocs team.

This is an exciting time for customers and service providers in this space, and we’re thrilled to be able to help customers realize the benefits of building their businesses on AWS. If you’re at Enterprise Connect this week, stop by to learn more and talk to us about getting started today. If not, we’d love you to take a look at the services and solutions we are announcing this week. As always, we welcome and value your feedback.

Peter Hill

VP, Productivity Applications, Amazon Web Services

Peter Hill

Peter Hill

Peter is currently the leader of the AWS’ End User Computing business, including WorkSpaces, AppStream, and WorkLink, the Productivity Applications business, including Chime, Alexa for Business, WorkDocs, and WorkMail, Connect, the contact center as a service solution, and the Silk browser. Peter joined Amazon in 1997 as part of the helpdesk and website operations team. He then moved on to roles in Networking, Systems Engineering, and Hardware Engineering before joining the software organization as a SDE. As a SDE, Peter was part of a number of projects including the creation of the Gurupa Page Assembly engine to render the Retail website, the in-memory WebCache, the ImageServer software and infrastructure, the internal PMET metrics and monitoring systems, the original datacenter migration among others. Since that time Peter has held leadership roles in website performance and monitoring, the Kindle Development Kit, the original Kindle e-reader and tablet devices, as well as several other teams.