Although Amazon was not targeting elderly or disabled adults with the creation of the Echo device, one of the most promising aspects of the Echo's assistive technology is its ability to offer easily accessible information and services to consumers who may have a difficult time interacting with computers or mobile devices.
For example, an Amazon Echo owner with low vision might find enormous benefit in having the ability to ask Alexa for the time of day, the news and weather or to play music from a certain era.
Savvy companies are stepping up to fill the void by creating Amazon Alexa skills that integrate with their core products and services and enable easy access to seniors and physically impaired consumers.
Check out four Amazon Alexa skills that make life easier for older adults:
Personal Support Network
Ask My Buddy is a free voice-enabled service that works via the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Microsoft Cortana services/devices to connect users with their personal support network. Seniors and those with mobility challenges benefit from added peace of mind, knowing that assistance is a shout away. Get started with this two-step process.
Decipher Medical Invoices
Take control of health care bills by translating insurance jargon into easily-understood terminology. Enable the Alexa skill "Health Care Genius" and you'll have the ability to ask questions such as, "What is co-insurance?" or "What is a deductible?" Ask Alexa to "enable Health Care Genius" to get started.
Call a Ride
Both Lyft and Uber offer Amazon Alexa skills that will get you moving. Set up your account information, including your preferred payment method and follow-up by enabling the skills on your Amazon Echo device. You'll have the ability to order a ride via a simple request, for example, "Alexa, ask Uber for a ride."
Connect with a Handyman
Currently active in 39 metro areas across the US, the TaskRabbitskill for Alexa links your TaskRabbit account to your Amazon Echo device. Set up your account on the TaskRabbit website, enable the Alexa skill on your Amazon Echo, and you'll have the ability to say "Alexa, ask TaskRabbit to find me a handyman" or "Alexa, ask TaskRabbit to clean my house."
Amazon Echo Silver
Looking for a chuckle? Check out SNL's take on the Amazon Echo Silver, an imagined device that's "super loud and responds to any name remotely similar to Alexa."
Jill Schmidt is a lover of data-driven communications and a keen follower of digital marketing best practices and trends. Throughout her 18 year tenure in marketing and advertising, she has worked on digital account strategy and campaigns for companies such as Colgate, Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark, Briggs & Stratton, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and many others. She is the creator and writer of a triple award-winning email newsletter. Founding member of the Milwaukee Interactive Marketing Association, former Vice President, and seven-term board member.