The Week in Smart Home: Alexa for Business to personalise your workplace

All of the big smart home stories from the past seven days

Alexa for Business to hit your workplace
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Welcome to The Week in Smart Home, where we take a look back at the past seven days of headlines in the world of connected home tech and mop up the stories you may have missed.

In terms of the big headlines there was the big Apple TV reveal, news that the Arlo Ultra finally went on sale and the first real look at the Sonos Symfonisk Ikea speaker.

But that's not all...

The Week in Smart Home: Alexa for Business to personalise your workplace

Alexa for Business Blueprints go live

You know all about Alexa Blueprints and how to create your own skills, right? Well that very same(ish) setup is about to hit your workplace following Amazon launching Business Blueprints.

Blueprints allows you to create skills easily in minutes and, for business users, the idea is that employees or companies can create skills to use in the workplace, which that company's IT department can approve and oversee.

"Some companies attempting to develop custom Alexa skills found they didn't have the resources to build their own private skills, which can take several months to design and release to their organization," explained Ben Grossman on the Alexa Blog.

"Organizations of any size can create private skills using Alexa for Business Blueprints, regardless of budget, without needing developers to write a single line of code. Skills created from these blueprints can answer work-related questions such as 'What's the guest Wi-Fi password?', 'What are the hours for IT?', or 'When does open enrolment start?'"

The Week in Smart Home: Alexa for Business to personalise your workplace

TomTom smartens up

Remember when we all drove around with satnavs stuck on our dashboards, telling us where to go? (Ask your Dad). If so, then you'll no doubt remember TomTom who are - get this - still in the satnav business*.

And - double get this - they are expecting people to cough up €329.95 (5-inch) / €379.95 (6-inch). for a new satnav: the TomTom Go Premium, which is IFTTT compatible so lets drivers connect to huge range of connected services, including digital assistants and smart home devices.

You could, for example, configure your new TomTom to activate your smart thermostat automatically when you arrive home, or turn on your smart security system when you leave the driveway... the list is pretty much endless.

Sure, you can already do all of this, and a whole lot more, from a smartphone that you already own; but let's ignore that for now.

*Look, we know TomTom are invested in a whole lot of other, much more exciting car tech aside from boring satnavs, but mentioning that would have meant we couldn't have been as snarky with this particular news.

The Week in Smart Home: Alexa for Business to personalise your workplace

Apple launches Apple TV HD

You'd have no doubt read all about Apple's grand vision for the future of TV, and the new Apple TV app. But Apple also listed a new streaming device this week that you may not have noticed.

Sort of.

The Apple TV that came out before the 4K one (the 4th-gen model, if you're keeping count); well, that one is now called the Apple TV HD. You can see what they did there. It's to avoid confusion.

Apple now has the Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K set-top boxes; the Apple TV app that will play host to its new Channels service (also available on non-Apple TV set top boxes); and there will also be Apple TV+, which is, erm, the original content bit? Probably. Better Google that to double check.

TAGGED    smart home

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