Over the past few months, we’ve seen businesses and other organizations rightly prioritize and protect the health and safety of their employees by empowering them to work from home or other remote locations. During this period of adaptation, we have turned to communication and collaboration through video conferencing — mainly via personal devices — to help keep the world working.

Now, as enterprises and institutions around the world begin to strategically reopen their offices and distributed employees gradually return to more traditional workplaces, we can expect there to be heightened sensitivity with regard to the health and well-being of workers who will be sharing not only spaces but also meeting room technology. In fact, we’ve heard from many customers that foremost among their considerations and changes for a safe return to the workplace is adoption of as much “touchless computing” in shared spaces as they can reasonably implement.

With that backdrop, Lifesize today announced a new, native integration with Alexa for Business from Amazon Web Services to support safe and streamlined in-room meeting experiences via touch-free, voice-controlled system navigation and room management. Lifesize with Alexa for Business brings artificial intelligence to the meeting room and to the industry’s highest quality video meetings.

Combining the Power of Alexa and Lifesize

Organizations with an active Alexa for Business account can immediately enable the integration for Lifesize Icon 300, Icon 500 and Icon 700 room systems from the Lifesize Admin Console, allowing users to start, end and extend meetings; check in and reserve rooms; and more using simple voice commands. There’s no need for IT teams to purchase, deploy and manage additional hardware, as users can interact with the Alexa intelligent assistant and receive visual feedback directly from the Lifesize Phone HD in each meeting room system.

Among the standout features of the integration is the fact that Lifesize becomes the first video collaboration provider to support directory integration with the Alexa address book, enabling direct name-based calling to any contact, room system or meeting associated with an organization’s Lifesize account. This means that calling colleagues from any Lifesize-equipped meeting room is easier than ever. Simply state, “Alexa, call [Name]” and your video call will be initiated in seconds.

Beyond the hands-free interaction with Lifesize room systems to connect to and conduct meetings more efficiently, the Alexa for Business integration also allows the creation of custom skills for needs like virtual tech support and sharing the guest Wi-Fi password. A sampling of other skills (both standard and custom) include:

“Alexa, is this room free?”
“Alexa, who booked this room?”
“Alexa, find me a room at noon.”
“Alexa, ask our company for the latest news.”
“Alexa, report an issue.”
“Alexa, join my meeting.”
“Alexa, extend the meeting for 15 minutes.”
“Alexa, end the meeting.”

For room management, integration with common calendar applications grants Alexa the ability to automatically release booked rooms that end up going unused, and customers receive access to meeting room usage data so that they can take steps to maximize space utilization and increase productivity.

Safe to Meet in More Ways Than One

In alignment with the Lifesize commitment to ensure reliable, safe and secure video communication for our customers, privacy and security are paramount in the implementation of this new integration. As rigorously tested and certified Alexa Voice Service (AVS) solutions, our room systems comply with AWS’s comprehensive compatibility, security and privacy requirements.

This certification is further reinforced by additional security and privacy measures that customers can enable within their Alexa for Business accounts to ensure they are comfortable with how Alexa uses data. For example, IT administrators can use an API or web interface to remove voice recordings from the cloud as well as decline manual review of voice recordings. Plus, users can always tell Alexa to forget what they told her during a given day or meeting.

The entire backbone of Lifesize’s business already runs on AWS, and we are excited to further extend our collaboration with this integration to help joint customers make a safe return to work. At launch, North American customers can enjoy trialing Alexa for Business with their supported Lifesize Icon meeting room systems free for 90 days. To learn more, visit our integration page or read today’s press release.