Amazon debuts Alexa tech for senior living communities, hospitals - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Amazon debuts Alexa tech for senior living communities, hospitals


Dive Brief:

  • As retailers become increasingly involved in healthcare, Amazon has released tools within Alexa Smart Properties that are designed to assist senior communities and healthcare facilities, the retailer announced on Monday.
  • Using Alexa-enabled devices, employees at senior communities can list activity schedules and meal menus, make announcements, video and voice calls, and send direct audio messages to other Alexa-enabled devices, the company said. Senior living residents can also use the devices to keep in touch with loved ones or access the news.
  • Healthcare facilities can use the technology to communicate with patients via calls or drop in without entering patient rooms, or to list customized information like cafeteria menus. Alexa-enabled devices can also connect patients with staffers, and allow patients to control the devices in their hospital rooms, play music or get news updates.

Dive Insight:

Amazon has its sights set on expanding Alexa-enabled devices into a variety of large-scale properties, noting in its release that outside of the healthcare and senior living spaces, the features also offer opportunities at hotels, vacation rentals, apartments and offices. The company envisions the devices being used to answer property-specific questions, such as "What time does yoga start?" or "Could you ask for my mail to be delivered?," while hospitals could also use the tool for purposes like tracking medication. 

Amazon already has multiple clients in the healthcare space using the Alexa Smart Properties technology, including Boston Children's Hospital, Cedars-Sinai, BayCare and Houston Methodist, according to its announcement. Anticipating privacy concerns, the company noted that the Alexa devices do not save voice recordings or require sharing personal information to use the tools.

"We believe the intuitive and accessible nature of voice and Alexa has the potential to help and delight customers in many scenarios, in and outside of the home," Liron Torres, head of Alexa Smart Properties at Amazon, said in a statement. "We're excited to extend the experiences customers already love to senior living communities and healthcare systems, and give providers new ways to save time and personalize care for their patients and residents."

With the release of these tools, Amazon joins other major retailers in tapping into the healthcare market for growth. This year, Best Buy teamed up with Apple to introduce health and safety features for older adults through the Apple Watch and later acquired Current Health, a care-at-home technology startup. Walgreens also deepened its healthcare sector ties by opening more fulfillment centers for prescription delivery and investing $5.2 billion into VillageMD. Seeking to reach more telehealth customers, Walmart acquired telemedicine company MeMD in May for an undisclosed sum.


Tatiana Walk-Morris, Khareem Sudlow