HCC asks Alexa for help with social care pilot


Hampshire County Council is working with Amazon and Argenti Telehealthcare Partnership to develop a customised version of their Echo home speaker device, as part of a social care pilot.

The Amazon Echo is a voice-activated home speaker with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Users can “ask Alexa” to remind them to take medication or check when their carer is due to arrive. The device is intended to help support people to live independently in their own homes for longer, and reduce social isolation in the elderly.

The pilot scheme will develop a range of new skills, linking Alexa to other technology in people’s homes. Possible ideas include reminding people to stay hydrated by linking Alexa to movement sensors around the home, so that when a person enters their kitchen they can be prompted to have a drink. Alexa could also be used to encourage people to keep fit, by suggesting local walking routes of different lengths.

The technology will be trialled with 50 adult social care clients in Hampshire and is expected to be in use in the testers’ homes by the end of 2017 – with the project running throughout 2018. Find out more via HantsWeb.