Are you one of 100 million people worldwide using Alexa to manage your smart devices? Want to get more out of Alexa than streaming music and ordering stuff online?
There are over 70,000 apps from 3rd party developers in the Alexa Skills store that can teach your Alexa to do everything from talk like a pirate to manage your calendar. If you're looking to make better use of Alexa in your work life, you're in luck! I've sifted through more than 2000 offerings in the Productivity section of the Alexa Skills store to find the most promising apps for use at work. This was no small feat! The productivity section of the Alexa Skills store is unfortunately overrun by apps to teach Alexa to make farting noises (I’m not kidding) and other inappropriate trivial things which are not particularly useful at work. I've weeded those out to find the most useful work apps available – you're welcome!
Mastermind: Mastermind is a cross-platform AI (artificial intelligence) that helps you get things done on any voice-enabled device (such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple iPhones etc.). Mastermind is a hugely popular productivity app for a good reason: it lets you access your phone's notifications, screen calls, send and receive text messages, initiate phone calls, get caller ID, launch apps, ring your phone, access your calendar and schedule and a whole lot more.
InfoStretch Nest: This scheduling app lets you keep track of important calendar events and work-related items, such as your holiday/sick leave balance, training sessions, expense request status & your team's planned, scheduled leaves & expense requests. Super handy for keep track and coordinating with your team's schedules!
Remember This Number: How many times have you tried to remember a number, only to have it flee from your mind within 30 seconds? Remember This Number allows you to 'jot down' a number without pen and paper. It's a small thing, but a huge reliever of frustration in those moments when you need to recall an important number!
Talents for Good: Talents for Good, matches people who are in need of talents, skills, services, or expertise with those who want to volunteer it. This app trains Alexa search through a nationwide list of people who want to volunteer their services, skills, and talents for a worthy cause. In the event that there's no one in your region to the help you at the time of your search, Talents for Good will take your phone number and text you when a volunteer becomes available.
Request Any Service Anywhere: This app takes the headache out of finding a service provider. Need an emergency plumber? List of available event venues in your region? Someone to plow your parking lot? Request Any Service Anywhere can connect you with a list of over 1 million service providers, offering everything from handymen to limo drivers.
Quick Events: QuickEvents allows you to add events to your primary Google Calendar. This app checks for conflicting events, and asks for confirmation before adding your event. Alexa will prompt you the information it needs to schedule an event within the conversation. Events are scheduled for 50 minutes by default but you can specify any custom length. This skill also supports multi-day events and all-day events.
Web Analytics: Hooray - there's an easy to use tool that lets you know how your website is performing! Web Analytics tells you your website's visitor traffic information from Google Analytics. The Web Analytics skill asks Alexa to give you your website visitor traffic at any time, and as often as you like (you need to have Google Analytics installed on your website and an analytics account for this app to work).
Work Time Tracker: This is an especially handy app for people who work remotely and are trying to create some discipline around their work habits. Work Time Tracker tracks your time; just ask the skill to start tracking for a work unit and to stop when you are done.
Asking for the total time, it will give you the sum of all tracked work units. When you're ready to start over for another day of work, ask to reset all tracked work units.
Voice Metrics: Voice Metrics allows you to set up a “Business Briefing” with your business data. Simply connect Voice Metrics to any Google Sheet, Slack Board, or programmatically with their REST API and voila! You can access data on anything from sales and customers to individual department statuses. There's a little customization involved, but the reward of having business data readily available at voice command is really worth it.
Mail Bot - Email Voice Reader: Managing your inbox is a perennial pain in the neck, but Mail Bot makes this dreaded task a little bit easier. Mail Bot reads entire emails from your Gmail account. You can specify a time frame ("just read my emails for today") or a type of email ("just read my starred emails").
These are just a few of many, many Skills available.
Is there an Alexa Productivity Skill you use for work that you just can't live without? Tell me about it! I'll share your suggestions in a future blog post.
I hope this information makes you curious to create your own teaching rules for voice enabled devices like Alexa, or try and explore other apps that work at work! Enjoy!