What you need to know
- Amazon launches new Care Hub feature for Alexa-enabled devices.
- Care providers have access to loved ones' activity throughout the day.
- Users can get started with Care Hub today by connecting their Alexa accounts.
As a result of the ongoing global pandemic, its become more difficult to spend time with loved ones. This can be harder for the older generation, who are more vulnerable and disproportionately affected by exposure to Covid-19. This makes something like virtual care a staple for many who want to keep tabs on their loved ones. Amazon is looking to help fill the void, and today announced a new remote caregiving feature for Alexa called Care Hub.
At its core, the new feature is meant to create a direct connection between the person providing care and their aging loved ones. Family members will be able to get alerts and monitor their activity feed through the Alexa app. They can also set customized notifications, such as when activity starts or when there's a lack of activity. And whenever there's concern, simply tap to call or "drop in" on their loved one.
Amazon is betting on the ease of use for voice assistance making it ideal for aging customers. Being able to tell Alexa to turn on lights or play music makes it easy to incorporate into our daily lives, especially for users with mobility problems. Thus, activity feed is mainly contingent on the continued use of Alexa throughout the day. And of course Amazon has privacy in mind, meaning loved ones can view, hear, and delete voice recordings simply by telling Alexa. There's also a limit what the family can see in activity feed. Activities are shown by category, so specifics like a song title, for example, will not be shown. Amazon describes it as "see how they're doing, not what they're doing."
Amazon employees have taken part in the program and provided feedback to help improve it:
"Isolation and loneliness are common issues for those of us who are elderly with family living a distance away. Alexa, along with the Care Hub, would create a very necessary connection to the outside world." -Sylvie R., loved one of Amazon employee Erika S.
"I live alone and do have some health issues, so this feature would definitively be very useful in case of an emergency. It gives me confidence that I can reach out to my daughter if I need help." -Rita R., loved one of Amazon employee Suman K.
Customers can get started with Care Hub by connect two Alexa accounts; elderly loved ones need an Amazon Echo or Alexa-enabled device, while the family member or person providing assistance only needs the app. Once the invitation is sent and accepted from the loved one, the accounts are connected and the family member immediately becomes an emergency contact. The loved one would simply have to say "Alexa, call for help" and the family member will be contacted.
User can get started today. For now, Care Hub is only available in the U.S. with no word on expanding to other countries or regions.
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