While those who love the newest technical gadget or advancement are interested in the Echo; I am interested with a capital I. What opportunities will the Echo translate to for caregivers and patients who require assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s?)
Is the Amazon Echo the device which will accurately and consistently use voice assistance to help patients with the everyday tasks and improve their quality of life?
What Is The Amazon Echo?
Reviewers seems a bit perplexed as to how to correctly categorize the Echo. The Echo has been called a smart speaker, a personal voice assistant, wireless music speaker and intelligent home speaker.
I believe most would agree that the Echo is a hybrid of voice activated personal assistant and a smart speaker.
How The Amazon Echo Can Assist With Caregiving And ADL’s
I see great possibilities of assistance the Echo can offer while giving freedom to a patient and the caregiver as the patient can navigate by voice many of the normal functions which we use a computer. The Echo could be a very useful and efficient computer assistant while giving the patient the freedom and independence to navigate the computer unassisted.
Perhaps the assistance is temporary as in person recovering from surgery on an arm or hand and needs help with the majority of daily living activities. Or perhaps the assistance is permanent for those with conditions which prevent or hamper the use of a computer unassisted.
The Echo can fulfill each of those situations with its’ multitude of functions designed to make your life simpler with voice activated commands.
Amazon Prime And The Echo
Undoubtedly the addition of Amazon Prime offers a huge array of functions to use in combination with the Echo. However Amazon Prime is not required to utilize the Echo.
I am a prime customer who highly recommends the service and when I realize the additional ease and convenience of coupling the Echo with Prime the opportunities are endless for voice activated ease of using Prime and its’ features. An explanation of Amazon Prime is included at the end of this article.
What Does The Echo Do?
A few of the functions of the current version of the Echo include:
- Computer personal assistant
- Reading audio books
- Set medication reminders
- Setting alarms, wake up calls
- Finding breaking news
- Relaying traffic reports
- Google calendar functions
- Control audio
- Wikipedia research
- Jokes, news, sports updates
- Plays music, acts as an entertainment system
What Devices Are Compatible With The Echo
- Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices
- Amazon Prime Music
- Search engine access is limited to a link versus direct access
Who Is Alexa?
Alexa is the voice of the Echo.
The majority of reviews give Alexa a thumbs up over voice recognition such as Cortana from Microsoft, Google Now or Siri from Apple. The accuracy of Alexa will improve as Alexa acclimates to your voice.
The wake word is the word which you signify Alexa (insert your new name) to begin its’ duties. However, Alexa is always “on” so their have been some privacy concerns raised regarding what sounds Alexa will pick up from other members of the household within range. The features of the Echo continue to be refined along with new features added.
What would your smart word be for the Echo?
Ask My Buddy Feature
Ask My Buddy is a feature offered with the Echo which allows up to five contacts to be added to Alexa’s personal contact list for immediate notification.
The contact information requires one of the following: email, text and a voice phone number. Your contact will only receive messages through the modes of contact listed. If you list only an email, then only an email alert will be sent.
The Ask My Buddy has the capability to act as a personal alert system for situations which require immediate attention.
Reviews Of The Echo
Reviews have been overall positive for the Echo. One of the main notes in each review is that the functions of the Echo will continue to improve with each subsequent release. It is noted that while the Echo is portable and unobtrusive, the unit does require an outlet for plug in.
Ratings of the Echo are in the B+ to A range.
- CNET 3.5 out of 5 stars
- CNET Users 4.0 out of 5 stars
- Amazon 4.5 stars out of 5 stars, over 38,000 customer reviews
- ZDNet – 10 out of 10
- PC Magazine 4.5 out of 5
Integration with Phillips Hue, Wemo, Smart Home Devices
Phillips Hue offers a line of lightbulbs which can be programmed by a desktop, phone app or now the Echo. An Echo user could verbally instruct lights which are Phillips Hue lights to go on, off, dim.
The Wemo offers the ability to remotely turn appliances and electronics on and off via wifi and plugs into the wall.
Samsung SmartThings, Insteon and Wink are also compatible.
The Echo can be a very valuable tool for caregivers and their patients. While voice recognition systems are no longer new, the technology continues to evolve and can be adapted for many uses whether for business, pleasure or caregiving.
What Is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is the annual fee based subscription which offers two day shipping with no minimum order and the highlights include:
Prime Music – access to a huge library of music
Prime TV Movies – access to free tv show and movie library
Prime Pantry – food and household items with very competitive pricing
Amazon Cloud – free cloud storage
How To Get Amazon Prime For Free
Amazon offers interested customers a free 30 day trial to try Prime. If you are considering an Echo this would be an excellent opportunity to try the 30 day free trial of Prime.
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