Senior Living Tech Developer K4Connect Integrates With Amazon Echo Show Smart Display
Tech solutions for seniors developer K4Connect will integrate its software for assisted living communities with the Amazon Echo Show smart display for release later this year. The K4Community Alexa skill takes advantage of new Alexa Management APIs released by Amazon, allowing for multimodal software experiences.
The new Echo Show skill developed by K4Connect augments the existing platform with new tools for communication and engagement through an assisted living center’s own software. The skill offers secure video calling, smart home controls, and entertainment designed for residents like games and music. Information about the local community, like events and menus that can also be accessed through Alexa and the information, can be set to display on rotation in the form of digital cards when the device is not in use.
“We are thrilled to expand our voice offering to include our multimodal skill. We were among the first to deploy Amazon Alexa across senior living communities and recognized early on that the natural interface of voice would empower older adults to live more independent and comfortable lives,” K4Connect CEO Scott Moody said. “Now, to combine both voice and touch into a single device, we’re able to serve even more residents using K4Community in ways that suits them best.”
Voice assistants and devices supporting them have grown enormously in popularity with older people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent quarantines set up at many assisted living communities. The new skill builds on the partnership between K4Connect, and the non-profit North Carolina Assisted Living Association (NCALA) that saw more than 1,400 Amazon Echo Show 8 smart displays installed in around 1,200 North Carolina assisted living communities early on this year. The success of those devices in boosting resident morale and keeping them connected with family and friends led K4Connect to explore more ways of using their software to help homes maintain their residents’ mental and physical well-being.
There’s already evidence the devices can be helpful. Project Zilver and Voice for Loneliness have both published studies showing how, along with keeping people connected by phone and video calls, voice assistants can be comforting companions. After the K4Connect distributed more than 8,000 Echo Dot smart speakers donated by Amazon to retirement communities on the west coast last year and the tests in North Carolina, the expansion to smart displays seems a natural follow up. And the company has plenty of runway to expand after closing a $21 million Series B funding round in July, bringing the total invested in the company to $31 million.
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