How Alexa Is Making The Workplace Better
Pandera Systems is a startup leveraging voice interfaces to restructure the flow of data for better workflow
In the 21st century, collecting, measuring and interpreting data is a routine task for companies of all sizes looking to grow, innovate, optimize sales, streamline communications, engage with larger audiences and achieve business objectives. With big data informing so many of the things we do on a day to day basis, its not just critical to make sense of all of this information being generated at the blink of an eye, but to distribute it appropriately so as to avoid cognitive overload. Thankfully, recent advancements in the fields of artificial intelligence are helping to contextually allocate information by automating when and how you receive it. At the forefront of designing intricate ‘central nervous systems’ for data delivery across a wide variety of mediums, leading business intelligence (BI) and analytics solutions provider Pandera Systems has recently announced the integration of Amazon’s Alexa into its already expansive tool belt.
With high hopes for AI as an intelligent funnel of information, paired with Alexa’s seamless voice command interface, the company is right on the cusp of revolutionizing how we interact with information. We got a chance to sit down with CEO Joshua Sutton in an exclusive interview to better envision just how this transformation will manifest.
“When you look at the standard analytics platform, you’re bombarded with all sorts of superfluous data that don’t seem to serve you in any way beyond cluttering your dashboard. Even as a CEO, I only need to know maybe seven pieces of information at any point in time – visualizing hundreds is completely unnecessary,” Sutton explains.
“Innovation on knowledge dissemination is set to occur faster in the next 12 months than it has in the past decade. Alexa can relay knowledge, consume knowledge, interface with platforms and people respectively faster than anything we’ve ever used before it, all while learning up on our behaviors to do it even better the next time.”
While the cylindrical device has undoubtedly made personal tasks like reordering cat food, receiving a daily forecast, or curating a playlist of your favorite music incredibly easy, its potential in the workplace proves a powerful asset for accelerating work and organizational processes. Sutton explains that while ordinary platforms fall short of adapting to businesses by effectively distinguishing fluff and critical information, Alexa’s AI capabilities enable an ever-evolving understanding of how to address each and every situation. Moreover, when Alexa doesn’t have an immediate solution, she can communicate with wider constituencies (data scientists, researchers and employees from other departments) to source applicable information and further align organizations simultaneously.
“When you think of the human process for arriving at a custom-tailored solution in the absence of Alexa, your mind immediately jumps to the burden of having to coordinate between 15 emails, scrubbing through a bunch of google searches and translating a cluttered analytics dashboard. Typically, we try to hardcode these information delivery systems ahead of time so as to create velocity towards putting the knowledge people need to work with down to the second. The brilliance of Alexa is that rather than IT working with business to map out types of analytics they need to make things better, Alexa allows us to use an augmented intelligence at the time its needed instead of predetermining it at the time I need it. This presents a more fluid and responsive structure, that can adjust according to context,” adds Sutton.
In a time when chatbots have started to gain traction and businesses everywhere are turning to messenger interfaces, Sutton is placing bets on natural language processing as the ultimate medium for building a better, more efficient knowledge taxonomy. He explains that dialogue will always be faster than our ability to type, and that although both services are powered by AI, Alexa has taken an integrated approach while chatbots are fragmented and platform-dependent. Furthermore, when dealing with sensitive information, you likely want some form of encryption, self-deleting messages and a framework that doesn’t generate data for the likes of Facebook (or other messenger platforms), things that most chatbots are incapable of providing at this point.
Having said all this, Sutton still believes that screens and people will remain irreplaceable. Though conversational commerce is a trend on the rise, there still needs to be some manpower revving the engine behind it. While you definitely won’t have to email as many people as you did to reach the same results, when Alexa doesn’t have all the answers she can become an effective intermediary between an organization’s collective intelligence. This process is set to radically transform how we think about work in terms of defined roles, internal and external communication and of course the flow of data (among many other elements).
“Imagine you went to Home Depot and you walk to the paint aisle and ask the guy there about a certain coat of paint, and he tells you ‘I’m the plumbing supply guy…’ But what if he was everything?
In ideation and technology, we’re building that middle part to empower employees and organizations with lightning fast information.”
Working to bring us the future of business intelligence today, Pandera is on a mission to accelerate business performance through the application of advanced analytical patterns and evolving technology compositions. Having serviced many of the Fortune 500 companies across a wide spectrum of verticals, the company is leading the growth of business intelligence by re-engineering decision-making environments rather than solely focusing its efforts on data collection like its competition.
“Alexa can show you it all. The whole cycle of how information flows fundamentally changes. The goal is that all of this should be useful to someone in the processes they manage or the role or responsibility that they have. Alexa will serve as a broker between analytics platforms and AI technology, serving to make esoteric information more accessible while only giving us what we need, when we need it, and without all the clutter,” concludes Sutton.
BOTTOM PHOTO: Finger point to Amazon Echo dot via Shutterstock
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