Amazon adds new productivity features to Alexa, Alexa for Business

The Reminders API and the new calendar features are available to both Alexa and Alexa for Business customers.

Amazon is introducing new productivity tools for Alexa, including a new way for third party developers to manage reminders for customers.

The new Reminders API is open to developers in all locales supported by Alexa, expanding the kinds of notifications Alexa users can get from the voice-activated assistant. With the API, customers can set reminders for information they'll want later, such as what time a store is closing, when a flight is scheduled to land or when their restaurant reservation is. When a customer is enabling a skill, they'll need to give permission for reminders; then, they need to give permission for each specific reminder they'd like to set.

With the move, Amazon is seeding the developer community with features to launch more enterprise connections. In January, Amazon rolled out Alexa for Business and has steadily added features via AWS.

Also: Cheat sheet: Alexa for Business (TechRepublic) | Alexa's land-and-expand strategy is racking up the numbers | Alexa for Business now works with third-party devices | AWS advances Alexa for Business with a new room booking feature | Amazon's slew of new Echo, Alexa devices obscures new developer tools, features

Kayak is already using the Reminders API to alert users when a flight they're tracking has landed. The NHL is using it to let customers set reminders 30 minutes ahead of hockey games they want to watch.

Previously, Alexa customers could get notifications from Amazon and a limited set of partners.

Meanwhile, Amazon is also giving Alexa users new ways to access their calendar information. First, the AI assistant can tell you when you have free time available in response to questions such as, Alexa, when do I have free time this weekend?" or "When do I have thirty minutes available on Tuesday?"

Users can also add calendars as an action in Routines. For instance, if a user has a "Good morning" routine, they can tell Alexa to list their calendar events for the day as part of that routine.

Also: Why Amazon's Alexa Skill Blueprints are a master stroke | TechRepublic: Amazon Alexa: The smart person's guide

Alexa continues to get new and more sophisticated capabilities, taking advantage of the large ecosystem of developers building for the AI assistant. Meanwhile, the calendar features fit in with Amazon's effort to make Alexa more useful for businesses.

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