Fancy getting medicine alerts from your Amazon Echo? Well now you can if you're based in Hampshire, in the UK. Hampshire County Council have teamed up with Amazon to create a reminder system for pensioners in adult social care. The system, currently in trials, reminds them to take medication and also lets them know when their carer is due to visit. 50 pensioners are currently involved in the Amazon Echo trials which are due to continue into 2018.
The Amazon Echo is a voice-activated home speaker with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, powered by the Alexa software from Amazon. Users can add new ‘skills’ to the device and then simply “ask Alexa” when their carer is due to arrive or receive a medicine alert from their Amazon Echo.
Medicine alert version of the Amazon Echo
A special "medicine alert" version of the Amazon Echo has been designed to faciliate this trial. It can also connect to movement sensors in people’s homes, so it can remind them to be careful when walking down the stairs, for example. The device will also be useful in advising elderly people to exercise regularly.
Future benefits of the Amazon Echo
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, the council’s executive member for adult social care and health, said: “We are excited about the possibilities this project could open up in the future, and its potential to benefit the future of social care.” Although the trial cost £50,000 (which the council received from the Local Government Association to help facilitate the scheme), Ms Fairhurst suggested that the trial would save the council money by helping people “support and manage” their needs in their own homes, thereby avoiding “the need for additional care packages”. On its website
, the council said that the Amazon Echo could “reduce social isolation in the eldery”.