Pros & Cons of Deploying Smart Speakers In The Workplace

Here’s a breakdown of the advantages of using smart speakers at work…

One of the most useful benefits of smart speakers and digital assistanst in the workplace is the ability to create reminders and alerts for important upcoming events. Have a last minute important meeting? Just say, "Alexa, send me a reminder about the conference call at 11 a.m." and Alexa will take care of the rest.

Another one of Alexa’s most popular features is Flash Briefing, a customized summary of the latest weather forecasts and news stories for your city. Workers can start their day by asking Alexa, "What’s my flash briefing?" and hear only the news that is most relevant to them. 

Smart speakers and digital assistanst also have the ability to quickly and easily re-orer frequently used supplies by responding to voice commands.  This can be helpful to workers who might otherwise have to stop what they are doing to complete this task. 

One of the drawbacks of Smart Speakers in the workplace is that they can be disruptive. By its nature, voice-activated technology requires making noise. The average employee is already interrupted every 12 minutes on average, which makes it hard for them to concentrate and get things done efficiently. While smart speakers can be helpful they can also signifigantly add to the distractions.

Smart Speakers in the workplace may also pose a security risk.  The technology behind smart speakers (language processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence) requires an always-on microphone that collects and transfers conversation data to the cloud.  In healthcare and legal environments, this is a huge privacy concern. Even if your business is not in one of these fields, access to smart devices could provide hackers a huge amount of useful data about your business.

If the drawbacks of smart speakers turn you off, there are less disruptive alternatives available. Most workplace apps have all the same functionality as a smart speaker—without the distractions. Employees can book meetings, request service, get essential information sent to them via mobile alerts and more.  

Smart speakers can certainly provide workers with myriad conveniences but device users would be wise to consider the security concerns that come with the presence of an always-on microphone in your workplace.