Alexa Together: Amazon launches service to help care for seniors

·2 min read
The Alexa Together service supports most Amazon Echo devices.
The Alexa Together service supports most Amazon Echo devices.

Amazon's Alexa has a new role: helping seniors and caregivers.

On Tuesday, Amazon launched Alexa Together in an effort to help aging consumers and family members or friends who assist in caring for them.

The subscription service requires an Alexa-supported device such as an Amazon Echo speaker or the Echo Show.

The service includes an urgent response option giving users access to a 24/7 emergency hotline when they say "Alexa, call for help." From there, a trained professional can request police, fire department or an ambulance.

Launched in 2014, Alexa helped spur a surge in voice assistants for our devices. Since then, Amazon has learned customers use Alexa for more than just setting an alarm or playing a song.

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"What we found and what we were really humbled by is that there's a lot of customers who actually maybe are less tech savvy and/or have special needs were really getting a lot of benefits out of Alexa and the far-field voice technology," said Toni Reid, vice president of Amazon Alexa, during an interview with USA TODAY. "It really inspired us to think about this customer segment in a dedicated way."

The service also supports fall detection response in partnership with third-party devices, including devices from Vayyar and Assistive Technology Service, that can detect when someone needs help. If someone falls, Alexa will awaken and ask whether the user wants to call urgent response.

Caregivers can receive activity alerts, and have the option to remote assist to include reminders or adding contacts.

The service costs $19.99 a month, or $199 a year, but Amazon is offering a free, six-month trial for a limited time.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alexa Together: Amazon service lets users care for seniors remotely

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