Approximately 24.5 million voice-first devices will be shipped in 2017. More businesses are begining to integrate devices, such as Amazon Echo, to streamline operations, enhance security and provide hands-free convenience.

The Echo is programmed to actively listen and complete tasks upon command. This enables businesses to focus less on tedious tasks and more on important business activities.

This post outlines ways businesses can leverage the Echo to save time, energy and money, and provides tips to maintain privacy and security within the workplace.

Business Operations

Amazon Echo devices are equipped with more than 10,000 skills, or capabilities designed to increase convenience and control. With a voice command, employees can use the Echo to complete a variety of tasks:

  • Keep up to date on the latest news.
  • Manage social media posts to generate leads.
  • Organize business calendars.
  • Receive event reminders.
  • Restock products and office supplies.
  • Send and read emails.
  • Submit food orders for meetings.

Business Comfort and Security

Use the Echo to monitor and control smart devices within your business, and manage security app settings. The Echo can complete the following tasks:

  • Acquire activity reports from smart security devices to flag suspicious employee or visitor behavior.
  • Change the temperature with smart thermostats.
  • Schedule lights to turn on and off.
  • Lock or unlock entrances.
  • Start video recordings from surveillance cameras.

Privacy Concerns

Alexa-enabled devices, such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Tap, record and process commands after detecting a wake word. Upon detection, the device listens for and processes the command. Therefore, anything said in the presence of the device may be heard, which raises privacy concerns for businesses.

Users can take action to protect their privacy while using the Echo:

  • Change the wake word. Select an alternate wake word in the settings of the Alexa App.
  • Delete previously recorded commands. Select “History” in settings in the Alexa App, and delete recordings that may contain sensitive information.
  • Review previously recorded commands in the Alexa App settings. Listen to individual recordings to ensure no information regarding the business or its clients has been archived.
  • Turn off the microphone when not in use. Hold down the microphone button on the top of any Alexa-enabled device until the light turns red.

To protect the privacy of its users, the Echo does not record or transfer audio clips to the cloud until it has detected the wake word. Additionally, Amazon respects customers’ privacy by not disclosing user information or recordings unless legally obligated.

Security Concerns

Amazon has taken security measures to prevent cyber criminals from accessing sensitive business information. To prevent wiretapping, all recordings are encrypted when transferred between your office and Amazon’s cloud servers. Encrypted data ensures recordings are not intercepted even if the businesses’ network is compromised.

Users can also mute the microphone to prevent hackers from accessing the device remotely to infect it with a computer virus. When properly installed and utilized, Amazon devices can be tremendous assets. Work with a trusted professional to properly install devices and integrate the Echo to improve business operations and convenience.