Amazon’s Alexa has been able to schedule meetings for some time now, but starting today Alexa can schedule one-on-one meetings based on the availability of both meeting participants. The Alexa Smart Scheduling Assistant also lets you move events around on your calendar with voice commands and is the first such service to be made available to Alexa and Alexa for Business users in the United States.
Alexa is unable to schedule one-on-one meetings if the person in your contact list lacks an email address, since suggested meeting times and calendar invites are sent via email.
However, if there’s more than one person in your contact list with the same name, Alexa will ask: “There are multiple people named John in your contacts, which would you like to invite?”
Moving meetings on your calendar can be as simple as saying “Alexa, move my meeting,” or you can make a more detailed request, like “Alexa, move my meeting at 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow.”
Amazon’s Alexa supports calendars from Gmail, G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, and Microsoft Exchange.
The feature upgrade for Alexa competes directly with a slew of scheduling assistant startups, like X.ai, Meekan, and Clara Labs, which today received investment from the Slack Fund. It also competes with other intelligent assistants for the workplace, like Microsoft’s Cortana, which added similar scheduling abilities earlier this year when supported was added for Gmail calendars.
Cortana and Alexa are, of course, competitors, but earlier this month we got the first glimpse of Alexa and Cortana working together. No date has been set for when people can begin to speak with Cortana in Echo speakers and Alexa on Windows 10 PCs.
In recently released features outside the office, Alexa can now automatically recognize the voices of users who say “Alexa, play music,” and eight new voices were introduced for skills developers to add to their voice apps. There are also personalized skills you can make exclusively for your home. And for kids, Amazon introduced FreeTime with Alexa, which gives parents control over the content Alexa serves up to their kids.