Small British businesses use Alexa to innovate
Nine magic words is all it takes to have your washing whisked away: “Alexa, ask Laundrapp to pick up my laundry tomorrow.”
It’s a phrase Echo owners in towns and cities across England can now speak to have Laundrapp stop by, pick up their washing, and then drop it off freshly cleaned 48 hours later. Laundrapp is an on-demand service that enables customers to easily order dry cleaning and regular washing simply by asking Alexa, the service that powers Amazon Echo, to pick up their clothes.
It’s about taking this age-old industry to a new technology era.
“The idea for Laundrapp came from a simple walk down my High Street, where I realised that the launderette or the dry cleaner hasn’t changed much in decades,” says Edward Relf, Co-Founder and CEO. “I was surprised when we set up this business by the many opportunities for technological innovation in the space.”
Alexa helps customers naturally communicate with businesses
Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. It’s powered by the Alexa Voice Service, and works by being connected to a Wi-Fi network and having users ask Alexa to handle a range of tasks, such as finding out the weather, reading the news, listening to music, and much more. She can also help plan your day, giving you the tube or National Rail time schedule, helping you order takeaway from local restaurants, and even guiding you through a workout or meditation session. Some of these skills, developed and integrated by companies like Laundrapp or Just Eat , are connected to services from local businesses.
“The great thing about Alexa is that she’s always getting smarter,” says Kevin Sontgerath, Alexa Business Manager. “We are constantly adding new skills to Alexa to expand her capabilities. Alexa launched in September 2016 in the UK, and she already has thousands of skills here. And the skills are growing rapidly.”
And how do businesses add skills? Amazon has released the Alexa Skills Kit which is a self-service set of tools that enable anyone, from a large corporation to a small business, to experiment and create new capabilities for Alexa, for free. Plus, with new AWS Promotional Credits for Alexa, developers can host most Alexa skills for free as well.
And as developers are building and adding new skills, Alexa is continually learning. Because her brain is in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, she adds more functionality every hour of every day, and continually adapts to customers’ individual speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.
“I think in 10 years you will see voice everywhere, not just in your home, but in your car too, for example,” says Kevin. “Alexa is widely loved by customers because it makes their lives easier.”
Laundry made simple
In today’s fast-paced world, a personal assistant like Alexa can rescue your day. “Ultimately doing your washing or dry cleaning is a chore, and now you can just talk to Alexa to arrange for a pick up,” says Romain Lefebvre, Product Manager at Laundrapp. “It’s about taking this age-old industry to a new technology era and making our customers happy.”