Amazon has announced its Alexa Together service, a new subscription-based option for caregivers and anyone who wants to keep an eye on the vulnerable people in their lives. The new service uses Amazon’s IoT gadgets and Alexa speech assistant to allow caretakers to observe when their elderly parent gets up in the morning, pop in for quick talks, and more.
How does it work?
The concept of employing smart speakers (and increasingly smart displays) to assist an elderly or disabled loved one with daily routines isn’t new. On the other hand, Amazon has embraced the trend by establishing a specific service that incorporates many of the features that a carer could require.
Remote Assist is a feature of Alexa Together that allows caretakers to manage the recipient’s shopping lists, set reminders on their Echo device, connect music services, and perform other chores. The service also features an activity stream that shows how smart devices are used and Alexa conversations in real-time.
This service also includes a 24-hour emergency response staff that can call for help on the user’s behalf. This can summon assistance if a supported device detects the user has fallen. Another option is to form a “circle of friends” so that other family members or friends may help with the caregiving.
Additionally, Alexa Together allows carers to build personalised alerts, which may be used to receive warnings if a loved one hasn’t used their Alexa device in a while or track when they first engage with it each day.
The cost and availability
Alexa Together is now available and can be used for free for six months. After the trial period finishes, Amazon’s service is available for $19.99 per month or $199 per year, with the latter offering a tiny reduction of $16.58 per month. Customers in the United States are the only ones who can use the caregiver service.
Both the caregiver and the beneficiary will need their own Amazon accounts to use the service. Meanwhile, the fall detection feature is only useful if the user has a suitable device to detect falls. Amazon has partnered with SkyAngelCare and Vayyar to bring Alexa Together functionality to their third-party devices.
Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets for caregivers
Smart devices and voice assistants are being tested in hospitals and nursing homes to better monitor and support patients and residents. For example, in 2019, the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles launched a test programme incorporating Echo Dot speakers and the Alexa-powered Aiva platform. The experimental initiative aimed to use voice commands to enable patients to summon their nurses, manage their room’s TV, and more.
Amazon’s Alexa technology has been modified to accommodate these types of events. For example, in October, Amazon announced that it was making changes to the Alexa app so that its voice assistant would spend more time listening for input. According to the business, this update was triggered by comments from some customers who have speech difficulties and require lengthier listening periods to use the assistant.