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AWS advances Alexa for Business with a new room booking feature

The feature, Amazon says, addresses the common challenge of walking from room to room to find an open space.

Nearly a year after its launch, thousands of customers are using Alexa for Business, Amazon said Tuesday. One of the most popular features is using Alexa to control conference room equipment and start meetings. As an extension of that, Amazon announced on Tuesday a new room booking feature for Alexa for Business.

The feature, Amazon says, addresses the common challenge of walking from room to room to find an open space.

The feature is enabled once a user links their calendar provider with read/write permissions. Then, they can ask, "Alexa, is this room free?" to check the room's availability. If it's free, they can use Alexa to book it for a certain period of time. If not, they can ask, "Alexa, who booked this room?"

Additionally, Amazon is soon releasing in beta a Room Booking API so that customers can use voice to interact with their existing room booking tools.

Amazon launched Alexa for Business at last year's re:Invent conference. The office integration was a natural expansion of Amazon's voice-activated assistant, which is already dominating the consumer market for smart speakers and voice interfaces. At launch, Alexa for Business was capable of performing tasks like looking up events, managing schedules and setting reminders. It works with a variety of other workplace tools including solutions from Cisco, WebEx, Zoom, Polycom and BlueJeans.

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