Blog AI & ML

Simplify Network Operations Using Verbal Commands

Joanne Lennon Senior Manager, Product Marketing Published 18 Apr 2019

Did you know: virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri are changing the way people interact with technology and are rapidly making their way into enterprise environments.

  • Gartner predicts that 25% of digital workers will use virtual assistants daily by 2021

Another fun fact – Extreme Networks products can integrate with virtual assistants such as Alexa to simplify network administration tasks.

The Rise of Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants, like Alexa and Siri, have quickly become ingrained in our lives. These voice-enabled assistants use voice queries and a natural-language user interface to answer questions and perform actions. For example, we can set alarms, play music, search for information, get directions, and adjust temperature and lighting.

How we interact with technology and the digital world has been radically transformed.  No longer are we tethered to a device where we type commands; we can execute tasks and find information faster and easier using simple voice commands. Most importantly, no training is needed –simply communicate what you want in natural language.  Voice is becoming the universal user interface

Virtual Assistants in the Enterprise

The popularity of virtual assistants is not confined to our homes. They are increasingly making their way into enterprise environments. Gartner predicts that “by 2022, more than 50% of all people collaborating in Industry 4.0 ecosystems will use virtual assistants or independent agents to interact more naturally with their surroundings and with people.”

Examples of voice-enabled virtual assistants in enterprises today include:

  • Hospitality: Marriott guests can use the Alexa voice assistant to order room service, adjust the room temperature and lighting, or help with checkout procedures.
  • Education: Universities offer voice services and chatbots to students for academic info like class schedules, assignment deadlines, opening hours for campus stores, and more.
  • Retail: Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are creating new shopping experiences for online retailers. Customers can reorder items from the same brand with a simple voice command via Amazon or Google’s online voice shopping experience.
  • Offices: Alexa for Business helps organizations and employees be more productive in their business environment – by finding available meeting rooms, etc.

Virtual Assistants in the Network

Thinking ahead to the future, virtual assistants will play a role in simplifying network administration tasks and operations. Today, network management is typically performed by IT administrators via a browser-driven user-interface (UI), which requires training and is only accessible from a computer.

Virtual assistants have the potential to open a world of possibilities – not only in simplifying administration tasks but also in providing non-IT personnel access to information and network control.  For example:

  • Education – Teachers could shut off student Wi-Fi during exams (“Alexa, turn off auditorium Wi-Fi until 2 pm”)
  • Retail – Store managers could gain insight about shoppers without pestering IT (“Alexa, how many users have connected to the guest network in the last hour? Alexa, push users the latest 2 for 1 promotion”)

Extreme Unlocks the Power of Speech

The following video shows how the integration of virtual assistants with Extreme products greatly simplifies network administration tasks like managing employee network access while sipping your morning cup of coffee.


This integration is made possible with Extreme’s next-generation architecture that uses container technology. For example, ExtremeCloud Appliance hosts containerized applications such as Extreme Defender for IoT as well as third-party applications such as AWS Greengrass and Alexa Virtual Assistant.

To learn more about containers and why the technology matters, check out this article from or the recent Extreme Using Container Technology to Deliver Security, Policy, and Visibility to the Access Edge blog post. As networks evolve in the digital era, so too will human engagement with them. Virtual assistants won’t just remove the barriers of network engagement, they’ll reimagine them.

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