Since introducing Alexa in 2014, we have often heard from customers about how helpful the voice technology can be. For many, asking Alexa to play music or add items to their grocery list makes life easier. For others, asking Alexa to control smart home devices—or call someone when they need help—gives them that much more peace of mind. We knew we could do even more.
Amazon has launched Alexa Together, a new subscription service designed to help aging customers feel more comfortable and confident living independently, and to give their entire family peace of mind. This service takes what customers have loved about the Care Hub—the activity feed, Care alerts, and easy ways to stay connected—and delivers an even more helpful experience. The service is designed to leverage the best of ambient technology—being there for customers when they need it, and fading into the background when they don’t. An Alexa Together connection is created when an aging customer and caregiver sign up. All it takes to get started is an Alexa Together subscription and a supported Alexa-enabled device, like an Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show for the aging loved one. The aging customer doesn’t need to do anything else. They can just go about their day with a little extra peace of mind.
Alexa Together includes a number of features that benefit both aging customers and their caregiving family or friends.
With Alexa Together, the aging customer gets 24/7 hands-free access to an Urgent Response professional emergency helpline. During an emergency, they can say, “Alexa, call for help,” to connect with a trained agent who can request the dispatch of police, the fire department, or an ambulance. When Urgent Response is called, Alexa will proactively notify the designated caregiver so they’re kept in the loop.
Fall detection response
Alexa Together works with third-party devices from Assistive Technology Service (ATS) and Vayyar that can detect when a customer has fallen or needs help, and prompt Alexa to ask if the customer wants to call Urgent Response and notify the caregiver. Vayyar Care is a contactless, wall-mounted sensor that can identify when a fall has happened, and SkyAngelCare by ATS is a fall-detection pendant that aging customers can wear around their neck. When customers press the help button on the SkyAngelCare pendant or Vayyar Care detects a fall, Alexa can receive a signal to ask if the customer wants to call Urgent Response. We are thrilled to be working with ATS and Vayyar at launch, and will continue to add support for more devices over time.
Activity feed and alerts
The high-level activity feed and custom alerts help reassure caregivers that their loved one is up and going about their day, while the aging customer can have the peace of mind, knowing that their family member can easily stay connected. The aging customer can just use Alexa and connected smart home devices as they normally would. With alerts, family members can get notified every day when their loved one has their first interaction with Alexa or connected smart home devices—or get notified when there is no activity by a certain time, serving as a reminder to stay in touch.
Alexa Together includes a Remote Assist feature that the aging customer can choose to enable. If turned on, caregivers can set up Alexa features from afar and manage select settings directly in their loved one’s account—like setting reminders, adding contacts they can call or message hands-free, adding or checking items off a shopping list, and linking a music service. This way the caregiver can act as a helpful IT resource for their loved one, even when they’re not together in person, and the aging customer can enjoy more of the Alexa experience without having to go through individual set-up processes.
Designed with privacy in mind
As with Alexa and all Echo devices, Alexa Together is designed with multiple layers of privacy protection. The aging customer will need to allow access for the caregiver to use features like Remote Assist. The activity feed was intentionally designed to be high level, so that the caregiver can see there was an interaction with Alexa, but not what that interaction specifically was. For example, they would be able to see their loved one was using Alexa for entertainment, but not the song, podcast, or Audible book they were listening to.
Customers can sign up for the new service by visiting Amazon.com/AlexaTogether. Either the person providing or receiving support can start the sign-up process, and both customers will need to complete the process to create the relationship. Alexa Together is available for $19.99 a month or $199 per year, but customers can sign up for a free limited-time, six-month trial. All Care Hub customers will receive a free year of Alexa Together until December 7, 2022.
We look forward to adding even more features over time, starting with the ability to add multiple caregivers—such as family, friends, or neighbors—to a single Alexa together subscription coming early next year.