Amazon technology challenge focuses on easing aging process

Two older women looking excited as they pick up with a smart speaker with interactive voice assistant.  Excited older friends asking questions to a digital assistant at home.
(Credit: Luis Alvarez / Getty Images)

Meeting the needs of seniors and some members of Generation X and the Baby Boom generation is the goal of the latest Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge.

The competition is now open to entrepreneurs to develop “skills” – which allow users to send voice commands to the virtual assistant to complete tasks – to meet the needs of adults aged 55 and over. The developers will compete for a total of $ 45,000 in prize money.

The Aging & Engaging Challenge encourages developers to create Alexa skills in four categories:

  1. Keep Moving: Build a skill to encourage people to live active lives to maintain strength, fitness and independence.
  2. Stay Sharp: Build a skill that allows people to explore, smile, solve puzzles or answer questions.
  3. Be Supported: Build a skill that supports and simplify a daily task or activity.
  4. Let’s Connect: Build a skill that connects users to friends, a peer group or family members.

The developers will compete for prizes ranging from $ 15,000 for the first prize to $ 2,000 for the category prizes. Winners will also be mentioned in a blog or social media post, and the grand prize winner will receive a chat with an Amazon Alexa representative.

In recent years, Amazon has moved into living and aged care space, as providers have looked for ways to connect staff members to residents, residents to each other, and residents to their family members before and during the pandemic. Many senior communities have deployed Amazon Alexa and Echo devices in their communities to increase staff efficiency and residents’ connectivity, with efforts expanding since the start of the pandemic.

For example, Serenity Engage integrated with Amazon’s Alexa Smart Properties senior home solution to create a custom Alexa implementation that serves as a personalized digital concierge in senior life.

Amazon Alexa and telemedicine provider Teladoc Health have joined forces to make the services available 24/7 on Amazon Echo devices.

Atria Senior Living announced earlier this year that it was installing Amazon Echo Shows in its new Coterie Cathedral Hill luxury seniors community in San Francisco.

And Viamonte of Sequoia Living in Walnut Creek partnered with technology company K4Connect during the pandemic to use Amazon Alexa-based devices for communication, security, and intelligent lighting control programs.

In 2019, Amazon announced that Alexa is now capable of transmitting and receiving protected health information. The company had worked with senior living parent companies Atrium Health and Providence St. Joseph Health, as well as other organizations as part of the invitation-only program to develop related skills.

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