During BlackBerry's recent Security Summit, BlackBerry CEO John Chen let it be known that BlackBerry was working on an Enterprise device that would integrate with Amazon Alexa as part of his keynote. Jump to today, and now, Amazon has announced BlackBerry as a partner in their opening up of Alexa for Business to third-party device makers.
Today, we're excited to announce that device makers building with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) can now create fully integrated solutions, so their products can be registered with Alexa for Business and managed as shared devices in organizations. Alexa for Business customers will soon be able to centrally manage and deploy supported products with Alexa built-in – whether it's built by Amazon or third-party device makers.
With a simple extension to the AVS Device SDK, device makers can leverage Alexa for Business to bring the power of voice to enterprises. Together, the solutions allow for: (1) deployment of third-party devices to shared spaces such as conference rooms, hotel and dorm rooms, lobbies, kitchens, break rooms, and copy rooms, (2) device management as part of the device makers' existing management flow, such as room designation, device health monitoring, and location setting and (3) skill management, such as public and private skill assignment for shared devices without publishing to the public Alexa Skills Store.
We are working with popular brands like Plantronics, iHome, and BlackBerry, and solution providers like Linkplay and Extron to bring delightful and productive Alexa experiences to organizations.
In their announcement, Amazon noted that companies like Express Trucking, Fender, and Propel Insurance are already using Alexa through Amazon Echo devices to help employees complete tasks such as booking rooms, turning on and off lights and more.
Now, with Alexa for Business open to third-party device makers, there will be more devices and skills to choose from. It remains to be seen what exactly BlackBerry is fully working on here, but no doubt we'll be hearing more soon now that Amazon has fully made their announcements.
As noted by IT World Canada, it's set to be Alexa-powered speakers: "We are working on multiple Alexa-powered smart speakers that will be built with BlackBerry's secure technology. The first device will be available in the first half of next year."
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