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Amazon’s service makes use of Echo devices to offer features like fall detection, activity alerts and emergency services. It’s an expansion and replacement of Amazon’s free service. Here’s a look at what families get with Alexa Together., which launched Dec. 7, is designed for caregivers and aging loved ones. The
What you’ll need
Alexa Together works with, and devices. The device should be placed in the aging family member’s home. For keeping in touch, the service leverages Alexa’s existing Drop In and video calling abilities.
Amazon suggests sending the new device to yourself and setting it up following its gift device setup instructions. You’ll be able to do things like get the Wi-Fi up and running without adding the device to your own home.
All the caregiver needs is a smartphone with the Alexa app installed. You’ll also need one subscription to the Alexa Together service. That costs $20 per month or $199 per year. Right now, you can sign up for a free six-month trial. If you’re a current Care Hub customer, you’ll receive a free year of Alexa Together (trial ends Dec. 7, 2022).
How it works
The Alexa Together service is designed to live in the background and be there when needed. Your loved one can use the device as much or as little as they prefer. There’s no special Alexa Together app they need to learn.
With Alexa Together, your loved one will have access to Urgent Response, a professional emergency hotline that’s available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The loved one can get assistance in an emergency by saying, “Alexa, call for help.”
That connects them to the helpline, where a professional can contact police, the fire department or an ambulance if needed. If a loved one uses the Urgent Response feature, Alexa will notify the designated caregiver.
Alexa Together incorporates fall detection from two third-party companies, Assistive Technology Service (ATS) and. Vayyar Care is a wall-mounted sensor that can detect when a fall occurs. SkyAngelCare by ATS is a fall-detection pendant worn around the neck.
When Vayyar Care detects a fall or the loved one presses the SkyAngelCare pendant button, Alexa receives a signal to ask if they would like to call Urgent Response.
Activity feed and alerts
Alexa Together includes activity alerts for caregivers. With these custom alerts set up, the aging customer goes about their day interacting with their Echo or smart devices as normal. The caregiver can be notified when the first interaction takes place each day. Caregivers can also be notified when no activity has taken place by a certain time each day.
The activity alerts are high-level, allowing the caregiver to see that an Alexa interaction took place, but not what it was. Terms are generic, like letting the caregiver know the loved one used Alexa for entertainment, but not what song or podcast was played.
Alexa Together also includes Remote Assist. When this feature is enabled by the loved one, a caregiver can set up Alexa features remotely and manage some settings. Caregivers can do things like set reminders, add contacts, check off shopping list items and link music services. The loved one will need to allow access for the caregiver to use Remote Assist.
Alexa Together launches today. You can find out more about the subscription on Amazon’s Alexa Together page.