Need to Know
- Amazon has launched a new feature to its Alexa app, Care Hub.
- The new feature uses voice technology and push notifications to help users to monitor and support loved ones who may need assistance throughout the day.
- Care Hub is the latest innovation and signals a growing trend of big tech companies and major retailers working in virtual health services.
Amazon has launched a new Alexa-enabled tool to help people monitor and support loved ones who may need assistance. The new feature, Care Hub, allows Alexa app users to remotely check in on parents or loved ones that live independently and be notified if they may need help.
Care Hub represents the next iteration of smart speakers, which have evolved from just playing music or providing the weather forecast, to enabling home security services and now supporting senior citizens at home.
With Amazon’s Care Hub, users can receive notifications of their loved ones’ own Alexa interactions to monitor their activity throughout the day or ensure they have been reminded to take their medication, for example.
A user can also “drop in” on a loved one by video calling them within the app. And most importantly, if a loved one uses their voice to call for help, Alexa will notify the user. (Alexa cannot call 911, but will notify the designated emergency contact.)
Care Hub is designed with multiple layers of privacy protection based on the loved ones’ preferences. For example, the app may show that your parent has played “Entertainment”, but not which song was played. Your loved ones can also delete their voice recordings for the entire day if they choose.
The digitization of healthcare is on the rise, especially among big-name brands and tech companies.
Walmart, for example, recently purchased assets from digital healthcare platform CareZone. The technology allows Walmart shoppers to manage prescriptions for themselves and their family members by scanning medical labels. Shoppers can also scan their insurance cards and save important health information.
This past spring, Walmart also teamed up with Verizon to provide faster wireless data and power Walmart’s launch of its digital health services, which includes video chats with doctors and access to real-time medical data.
In a time where global health is front-of-mind, tech companies are seeking new partnerships and innovations to bring digitized health services to the forefront.
Tech giant Microsoft also recently teamed up with virtual healthcare company Nuance to provide AI-powered telehealth services that would support both physicians and patients.
And never ones to miss an opportunity to break ground, Apple too recently partnered up with the Government of Singapore to launch a personalized health program through Apple Watch. The app encourages Singaporeans to “adopt healthy habits through personalized reminders and goal-setting, and will also remind users to go for health screenings and immunizations.”