Echo Dot Provides Engagement Opportunity
Making a move to a new building with 200+ employees is no small task. Add in new company-wide technology, process improvements and a new seating arrangement and you’ve got a recipe for potential resistance and confusion. Recently, a company came to goBRANDgo! looking for a partner to positively engage their employees during this transition from old to new.
In their new headquarters, they will reconfigure seating arrangements for increased efficiency between departments, implement state-of-the-art technology and update their office guide to reflect the new expectations of their citizens at the new location. As expected, traditional seating charts and office guide handouts have been created, but goBRANDgo! spotted an opportunity to bring these traditionally printed elements to be more interactive and to reinforce the “high-tech” aspect of the move.
“Alexa, ask [company name here]….”
Amazon’s Echo Dot with Alexa is popular among the consumer crowd and can be found in more than 11 million homes. Users can ask questions such as “Alexa, what’s the weather?” and the device replies “automagically.” At goBRANDgo!, we wanted Alexa to guide and direct employees while they were navigating the new building.
Utilizing voice interaction technology, goBRANDgo! created a repository of questions and corresponding answers for Alexa to access when anyone uses the phrase “Alexa, ask [company]…”. The repository holds seating charts, new building information, and do’s and don’ts of office citizenship. Employees in the new building can access nine Echo Dots across the facility and not only address Alexa with her built-in commands such as “Alexa, what is the weather?” or “Alexa, tell me a joke,” but also address her using custom commands such as “Alexa, ask [company], where does Jack sit?” or “Alexa, ask [company], can I eat fried chicken at my desk?”
How We Did It
Step 1: Define your questions and answers.
Create a repository of questions and corresponding answers ensuring questions could be asked in a variety of ways and return the same answers. This is all about ensuring Alexa “understands” human phrasing. As it turns out, Alexa is very particular and set in her ways.
Step 2: Create the Amazon accounts.
To create an Alexa skill we needed a regular Amazon Account (to connect the Echo to), an Amazon Developer Account (to tell Alexa what to listen for), and an Amazon Web Services Account (To tell Alexa what to say back).
Step 3: Define the trigger.
As much as we’d like to have been able to address Alexa with the standard phrasing of “Alexa, do we have …,” we had to point her in the direction to find the answer, specifically the answer we wanted her to give.
Step 4: Build the Skill.
We needed to separate the questions into groups based on things like “what,” “who,” or “how”. Then, we told Alexa which keywords in those groups to look for (So for a “who” question the keyword would be the person or organization name you want to know about). Then we had to write some code to store the answers to all those questions and make sure Alexa could find the right answer to the right question. We even added some friendly language for when Alexa gets confused and can’t understand what you’re asking her.
The team is ready to move into their modern, tech-savvy work space. They are excited about this application and integration of an easy-to-use device to encourage employee engagement.
Things to Watch Out For
Wi-Fi Connectivity – Alexa needs a WiFi connection to access information she can return. If connectivity is spotty, Alexa will deliver a negative user experience (i.e. she won’t be able to answer questions).
Trigger Name – We learned that whatever word (or phrase) you use as your trigger cannot be used as a keyword in a question.
Question Variation – Making sure that a variety of ways to ask the same question is considered can be exhausting, but it’s worth the investment of time for a better user experience.