How to Use Alexa Together
Much more than a handy voice assistant that can stream music, give you recipe tips, and answer any random questions that may come to mind, Alexa is also a phenomenal resource for keeping in touch with your family. and your friends. For those of us with loved ones who may need near-frequent assistance and monitoring, the minds behind Alexa have developed a suite of interactive and customizable features for this purpose, housed under one roof.
This powers platform is called Alexa Together, and it’s a peace-of-mind solution for remote caregivers and family members who want independence and privacy but also a helping hand (or more). ) when they need it most. Available through the Alexa app and put into action using a single Echo device, Alexa Together provides real-time activity monitoring and caregiver alerts, as well as a number of remote assistance features , like the ability to set reminders and set up streaming services for loved ones.
There’s a lot Alexa Together can do, and we’ve put together this article to help you understand the basics of the platform, how to set up and activate the service, and how to use some of Alexa Together’s must-have features. .
After the 30-day free trial of Alexa together, subscribers can sign up for either a monthly billed premium of $20 per month or an annual subscription of $200. Those who use Alexa Care Hub will be allowed to use Alexa Together for free until December 7, 2022.
What equipment do you need?
Apart from a reliable Wi-Fi connection for the person receiving remote care, the only other equipment they will need is the Alexa app and an Echo device – preferably one , so caregivers and Circle of Support contacts can use features like Drop In to check in on loved ones remotely via video call. For best results, however, it’s ideal to have a range of Echo devices scattered throughout the customer’s home – that way your loved one can easily interact with Alexa without having to navigate to a specific part of their home.
Ideally, caregivers will also have an Alexa device like thefor Drop In purposes, but the only thing they really need is access to the Alexa app.
How do you configure Alexa Together?
To use Alexa Together, the loved one and caregiver will need to create and link two separate Amazon.com accounts to the same Alexa Together subscription. If your loved one is unable to create an account themselves, you can still create one on their behalf. The customer will also need a single Echo device to use the plan, which you can also set up and activate if your loved one doesn’t have the capacity to do so.
Just buy the device you want them to have and have it shipped to your address for installation, and be sure to choose the Gift option when ordering to ensure the Echo hardware is not automatically linked to your own Amazon account.
Once you receive your loved one’s Echo device, the setup process is almost identical to activate a product other than Alexa Together Echo, but with two exceptions: you’ll sign in to the device using your loved one’s Amazon account and you’ll be to add your loved one’s Wi-Fi information to the Echo product without actually connecting to it.
To do this, after the initial setup, navigate to Settings and select Network > Add Network, then enter your loved one’s network information and select to safeguard.
Once your loved one has received their Echo device, all you have to do is activate the Alexa Together plan. To start the process, go to Alexa page Together. Select the Start the 30 day free trial button, after which you will be prompted to enter payment information for the plan. After that choose Activate Alexa together.
On the next screen, you will need to indicate whether you are the caregiver or the person receiving help. Assuming you’re the caregiver, you’ll then be prompted to enter your loved one’s name and Amazon email address to send them an Alexa Together invitation. They will then need to open this email on their end, where they will be asked to confirm some basic information and provide an address for emergency response personnel (more on this later).
What are the features of Alexa Together?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of Alexa Together in terms of cost, equipment, and overall setup, let’s take a look at some of the platform’s features. most useful features and how you and your loved ones can use them.
Customizable activity feeds and alerts
One of the greatest peace of mind capabilities of the Alexa Together suite is the ability to simply know that your loved ones are active. This confirmation is obtained through a live activity monitor dashboard which is designed to ensure the privacy and independence of the person receiving care, but also to give an indication to the caregiver that daily life is going on as normal.
Let’s say your elderly relative usually wakes up and starts their day around 8 a.m. every morning. If your loved one has the mental faculties to remember to say “Alexa, good morning” to their Echo Show each morning, Alexa will add that Echo interaction to your shared Alexa Together activity stream. And if your eldest can use a friendly reminder to say “hello” to Alexa, you can easily set one up for them.
To do this, go to the Alexa Together dashboard in the Alexa app and select Tips > Learn more > Create a reminder. You can also create reminders on the Remote Assist page (more info below) by choosing Reminder > Add Reminder. From here, you’ll be able to customize what time the reminder occurs, what date, and how often it should reoccur.
Now let’s say there is no reported activity with Alexa after the agreed time of 8am. In this event, Alexa Together will issue an alert to the caregiver’s Alexa app, letting them know that their loved one has yet to use their Echo device, with the option to communicate using Drop In or a regular call.
The Activity Dashboard will record all kinds of interactions with Alexa and third-party smart devices, such as launching a music streaming service, motion detected by a home camera or motion sensor, and even activating contact sensors to let you know your loved one has opened the medicine cabinet to take their daily pills. And while all of this report parameters can be customized To only issue activity notifications during certain times, Alexa Together will only send general alerts to the caregiver. For example, if your loved one asks Alexa to play a certain song using Spotify, Alexa Together will record that activity as Entertainmentunrelated to the song actually played.
Caregivers will also have the option to view a full day’s activity notifications, as well as previous days’ pings, by selecting See all activities.
Remote Support Capabilities
Within the Remote Assist dashboard, caregivers will have access to a range of Alexa Together features that will seamlessly integrate with their loved ones’ Alexa ecosystem.
We have already covered the practice Reminders feature to create and customize one-time, infrequent, and daily reminders for Alexa to ping your loved one’s Echo hardware. The contacts The tab allows the caregiver to add friends and family members to Alexa Together’s contact log and circle of support. Echo Device Settings will let you customize various elements of your loved one’s Alexa Together-enabled Echo gear, while Voice Responses will let you adjust exactly how Alexa can be heard and interacted with your loved one. beloved.
Shopping List will let you create, add, and remove items from a shared shopping list, much like Alexa’s regular shopping list capability, and Music and Podcasts will let you set up and manage different streaming services your loved one can access with their Echo Device.
circle of support
While the main Alexa Together subscription is shared between a customer and a caregiver, the latter will be able to to add additional friends and family to a list of emergency contacts, billed as the circle of support. This will allow Alexa Together to issue activity notifications and alerts to a range of contacts in addition to the primary caregiver, as well as call and drop capabilities (if applicable) to get in touch with your loved one in case of emergency.
Currently, you can add up to 10 Circle of Support contacts to an Alexa Together plan.
24-hour emergency services and fall detection
As part of the Alexa Together subscription, your loved ones will have access to 24/7 emergency dispatchers. The platform’s on-call emergency response unit can be easily reached by your loved one with a simple “Alexa, call for help” command, which will automatically ping the caregiver and circle contacts. assistance with a notification that the emergency response team was called.
Additionally, you can link a number of third-party fall detection products to your Alexa Together system, including devices from companies such as Vayyar, SkyAngelCareand Altumview. In the event that a fall is detected, you will be notified instantly and your loved one can call the emergency response team and Circle of Support contacts.