Apple introduced Siri, the digital voice assistant, with the Apple iPhone 4s in 2011. Amazon introduced Alexa in 2013 with the Echo smart speaker. Google launched Google Assistant in 2016. While Siri may be available in more indiviidual devices overall because it’s on every iPhone, Amazon Alexa plays a more prominent role in health and wellness apps and devices. We’ve written about a range of Alexa healthcare applications such as assisting ambulance attendants with emergency protocols, helping patients find the best prescription prices, setting doctors’ appointments, and solutions for senior living such as CTHome’s platform with Alexa skills developed specifically for seniors.

In late October, 2021, Amazon introduced two Alexa Smart Properties solutions focused on improving senior living experiences. Alexa Smart Properties is a set of technologies with custom Alexa skills designed to support the deployment and management of digital assistant devices by property owners and administrators. For example, a Smart Properties solution for the hospitality industry could use Alexa’s immersive voice engagement to help guests access amenities. In a business setting, an Alexa Smart Properties skill set could use Alexa to increase productivity by assigning available facilities more efficiently.

The new senior living-focused solutions support Alexa device deployment at scale in senior living communities and healthcare facilities. The primary aim is to leverage Alexa’s engagement to help residents and patients remain connected, informed, and entertained. For example, senior living residents could use Alexa to learn about the community, stay up-to-date with current activities, and communicate with friends and loved ones both inside and outside the community. According to Amazon, Alexa Smart Property administrators can offer their residents access to thousands of appropriate Alexa skills. Administrators can also use the platform in roles such as making announcements, receiving maintenance requests, and managing visitors and check-ins.

Most of us experience Alexa through personal devices in the home rather than when we’re at work or out and about in our communities. Our focus at Health Tech Insider isn’t so much on managed care institutions as on the needs of individuals who choose to age in place. Our hope is that as Amazon and others gain experience and knowledge about the most used and effective skills for senior living communities, they will use that data to shape future apps and programs for seniors who live independently at home.