With Dialpad-Amazon Echo integration, Alexa can make phone calls for you

Dialpad, a cloud-based business communications platform announced a new Amazon Echo integration this week that enables you to perform a number of business phone tasks by asking Alexa.

So for example you could ask, “Alexa, do I have any messages on Dialpad?” or “Alexa call Liz Green with Dialpad.”

Dialpad sees this integration as part of a general push to make phone functionality available anywhere. It starts with having a phone number in the cloud, a cloud telephony platform and a set of APIs that allows the company to transform any device including the Echo into “a phone,” Brian Peterson, co-founder and VP of Engineering at Dialpad told TechCrunch.

That flexibility has allowed them to turn the computer, tablet or mobile phone into the company phone, giving employees access to the company phone system wherever they are, even when they aren’t physically in the office. Peterson says this approach is really about extending the mobile worker by giving them access to the company phone systems from anywhere.

“The fact is we talk about the anywhere worker with more people working remotely. They aren’t sitting at a desk from 9-5. No matter where they are, they can control [their business] phone system,” he said.

The Echo and similar devices are the next logical step, according to Peterson. Being able to connect to a system like Alexa, truly removes a level of friction from using the phone system. You don’t have to pick up a handset, take out your mobile phone or even open your laptop. You simply say the commands and it connects you via the Echo.

He says that this ability to access the phone system without accessing a physical device is a major leap forward and shows the power of providing phone service via a cloud-based system.

You can ask Alexa to make a call in your contacts list or add the current caller to your contacts list, transfer or place a call on hold, record a call and check for voicemail messages. You can also ask for reports about the phone activity across the Dialpad system at your office.

The company was started by two former Google engineers who helped develop Google Voice. They recognized that if you could put the phone system in the cloud, you could treat phone functionality like email and access it anywhere.

“I can access my email from everywhere. The thing that was missing is that I couldn’t access [the office] phone from anywhere,” Morgan Norman, VP of marketing at Dialpad explained. As the Internet of Things expands to a set of connected devices, they could extend that phone functionality anywhere including the car, your connected TV or any other connected device.

The company plans to offer this functionality on Google Home later this year.