Hampshire County Council has unveiled plans to pilot Amazon’ Alexa voice recognition software and Echo home speakers to support older people needing care.
The trial will be carried out to help support people to live independently in their own homes for longer, and reduce social isolation in the elderly.
The council is working with its telehealthcare partner, the Argenti Telehealthcare Partnership led by PA Consulting, to trial a customised version of their Echo device for 50 social care clients.
Under the trail, which will start by the end of the year and run throughout 2018, the specially designed new Alexa software in the Amazon Echo devices is expected to be in use in the testers’ homes.
The council is planning to develop a range of new skills linking Alexa over the next year.
Some examples cited by the council include linking the software with sensors to remind people to drink to stay hydrated when it knows they are moving around their home, and allowing them to ask when they should take medication or check when their carer is due to arrive.
Hampshire County Council executive member for adult social care and health Liz Fairhurst said: “We are looking to trial this new technology with 50 adult social care clients in Hampshire, to help support and manage their needs within their own homes and avoid the need for additional care packages.
“We are very excited about the possibilities this project could open up in the future, and its potential to benefit the future of social care.”
The council also highlighted Alexa’s capacity to offer latest news and weather forecasts, switch on digital radio or play an audiobook.
Amazon Echo features a 9.25 inch tall cylinder speaker with a seven-piece microphone array. It connects to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa, which responds to the name Alexa.