Meetings With Alexa: Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Assistants and the Best Meetings EVER

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” – Stephen Hawking

Change in the workplace is a hard thing to endure. You’ve done a task a certain way for as long as you can remember and suddenly, you’re being asked to change it. Change for the sake of change is pointless and upsetting but change that improves your day to day? THAT is essential and, if you view it positively, effective.

Ironically, many of us accept change in our personal lives more easily than in our work lives. For example, a lot of people have adopted the use of personal virtual assistants like Alexa or Siri, to get mundane tasks done and save time in their every day. Managing to-do lists and family calendars, keeping track of groceries, playing music and more.

Will virtual assistants come into the workplace?

Could these virtual assistants – and by this, we’re referring to artificial intelligence software, as opposed to actual people working in a remote location – be useful in the work environment, freeing up time for everyone to get results oriented tasks completed instead? YES, particularly now that artificial intelligence has grown far beyond the limitations of Siri and its banale jokes.

Take planning and executing a meeting, for example. It can be time consuming to setup and run a meeting, particularly if you don’t have a little help. Like the tasks at home, artificial intelligence virtual assistants (AI VA) can help with meetings too. Just coordinating everyone’s schedule and going back and forth to see what day / time works for everyone can take a lot of time. The AI VA of the future will be able to sort it all out.

What will an enterprise level VA be able to do?

Alexa for Business, for example, is an enterprise level service that can, among other tasks, setup users to dial into a conference call or video conference, all with one voice command. This gets rid of the problem of people forgetting the dial in information or meeting ID, or worse, not knowing how to link to the call at all. Once every registered user has the information about the meeting in their calendar, Alexa for Business can take over with a single command. Thus we have meetings with Alexa.

Enterprise level virtual assistants will eventually be able help with everything from note taking during the meeting and sharing information with other attendees to setting up the meeting time and reminding everyone invited about it. It can take the mundane out of the task of meeting planning so that you can focus on the meat of it: the reason for the meeting! Now if it could only make the coffee!

We might see a day soon where AI VA systems are able to not only take in information and regurgitate it, but actually compile data from multiple sources to provide real-time synthesized results and access to the results for everyone. So that when Joe Forgetful and Jane Snooze each forget to bring their department specific data needed to make a decision at the meeting, the rest of the attendees aren’t scrambling on their tech to dig it up out. Instead, someone will just ask the VA and the data will be provided instantaneously, in split screen on the video conference. That day isn’t here yet… but then again, who saw smartphones coming, except for the people writing for Star Trek?

This is the kind of change that can take so much of the generic out of work tasks, enabling people to use their higher skills and functioning to net greater results, faster. That’s good for business in general and meetings in particular: participants and organizers can focus on why they are there, instead of worrying about the how, what and who of it!

Looking forward to meetings with Alexa, Siri and co.