Between Alexa, Google Assistant, Beeb, and more, you might think we have enough voice assistants, but Walmart disagrees. The company is rolling out an “Ask Sam” voice assistant to its employees, to help them find items, prices, store maps, and more.
As its name implies, Walmart initially developed the Ask Sam voice assistant for its Sam’s Clubs stores, where it’s been in testing for quite some time. But now Walmart is rolling the voice assistant out to more than 5,000 Walmart stores nationwide.
The idea is that voice assistant technology should be faster than typing out information on a screen. If you’ve ever dealt with an employee using a handheld device slowly typing out a query to determine if a particular LEGO set is in stock, you probably understand entirely. It can be slow and arduous.
But move that process to voice, and you may get faster results leaving everyone happy. A nice side benefit is that voice assistant devices can work while the employee is wearing gloves (something more common in a pandemic), something that’s difficult at best when typing on smartphone-based devices.
Ask Sam can also let managers communicate emergency alerts to employees. It can also help with pulling up receipts, reading emails, or pulling up staff birthday lists.
For now, Ask Sam is for employees only. But given the number of features customers might find useful, we’ll keep an eye on whether Walmart decides to roll out the voice assistant more widely.