Will Voice Assistants be the Go-to Aid for Solo Agers?

Remember the phrase, “There’s an app for that?”  We heard it on television commercials, even read it in magazines.. and not that long ago, either!  However, there's an updated version, “There’s a skill for that.”  

There are so many Skills to use that Amazon created - Skills Finder.  So what kind of skill would you like to experience using the voice assistant?

I did a search on Amazon and the number of skills one can access blew me away.  I have 2 Echo Dots but never installed and after reading what they can do, that will change.   

The voice assistant minions, Echo and Echo Dot, prove that futurism is well and alive. The kind we watched on TV as kids. 

The real stars are the skills that Alexa gets instructions and responds to a remarkable range of voice commands to give the news, music, weather, calendar, even shopping and scheduling appointments.

A plethora of skills and assistance will certainly help people aging at home alone feel more secure and connected. 

Fascinating Skills

One of the favorite skills that Alexa allows consumers is to set up a personal flash briefing which is your go-to updates on news, weather, sports, comedy, and any other preferences you care to add.

Companies and real estate firms create their own skills.  Eagle Realty’s briefing, “The Myrtle Beach Real Estate Minute,” delivers price and inventory updates, and shares investment and home buying opportunities in their market.

When I set up my Echo Dot, the flash briefing will include new trends in senior care and housing, industry news, health and nutrition tips, inspirational quotes, professional insights, and chronic illness education.

Here are the others that blew me away:   

Food and drug recall

Food safety news from the USA Food and Drug Administration and the European Union Food Safety Authority

Booking same- or next-day appointments by saying, "Alexa, open Providence Health Connect."  Alexa will suggest the next available appointments at a Providence Express Care Clinic near your home. Need to be more specific? Just say, “Alexa, ask Providence Health Connect to schedule an appointment tomorrow.” 

Care Assistant, aims to help seniors remain independent.  Living independently doesn't mean to be alone especially when you need help. This skill, My Assistant, can reach out to caregivers (Children, Family, Friends, neighbors, etc...) when you need help and your phone is unreachable. It is easy to set up and costs nothing.

What does it do?   

Once set up My Assistant, you can say, "Alexa, ask Care Assistant to call for help." The skill will call your predefined contact (typically your child, caregiver or nurse) on your behalf; she gives them your name, age, and address and ask for assistance.

Big Sky using the Dark Sky API, provides hyperlocal weather forecasts, telling you when rain will start or stop for a specific address or the humidity and wind speed and direction.

Kayak Skill will help you do casual research for a future trip.  Get fare estimates by saying,  "Alexa, ask Kayak where I can go for $400," or "Alexa, ask Kayak how much it costs to fly from Los Angeles to Dublin." The skill will ask for additional information and eventually provide you with a series of options and price ranges.

Before leaving or your next flight, make sure to check for security wait times at the airport. The Airport Security Line Wait Times skill will give you wait times for over 450 airports around the US. Say something like, "Alexa, ask Security Line what is the wait time at SFO terminal 2?"

Chat bot can help if you're feeling bored or lonely.  If you just want to talk this bot can help.

Neighborhood Watch skill alerts you and the neighbors to what's going on. It lets you share news and alerts with your community. If you see or notice something you want your neighbors to know about, you say it to the skill and it adds the alert to the national registry. Then as soon as someone in your area opens the skill, it will announce your alert!

These are just a few that I found extremely useful, but hear more on my Live video. 

Next week, I'll research the security concerns and whether Alexa can be trusted in our homes.    

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