Alexa Adds Proactive Reminders for Prescriptions and Sports News
Alexa can now proactively remind users when they need to refill a prescription, or there’s breaking news about their favorite baseball team. The update extends the voice assistant’s preemptive alerts feature that first debuted last year to encompass personal medical information and a relatively broad topic like a sports team.
Pharmacies & Baseball
The medicinal reminder option connects the voice assistant to Amazon Pharmacy and enables Alexa to tell customers when they should order a refill or renew a prescription. The audio reminders are coupled with visual information on Echo Show smart displays as well. Customers can activate the proactive reminders through the Amazon Pharmacy Alexa skill once they confirm their identity by voice and PIN.
“Amazon Pharmacy customers can now receive proactive reminders from Alexa when it’s time to refill their prescriptions and order their refills,” Amazon explained in a blog post. “Customers with Echo Show devices can now see detailed information about their prescriptions on screen when they use the Amazon Pharmacy skill, including pictures of pills, Prime and insurance pricing, remaining refills available, and additional drug information.”
The baseball team alerts don’t require ID verification; they just need to ask Alexa to follow their team of choice. The voice assistant will then push updates about the team in the news, remind users about upcoming games, and keep abreast of score changes. The proactive baseball news updates come right after Amazon scored a deal with audio streaming platform TuneIn to bring the TuneIn Premium service to Alexa-enabled devices. TuneIn Premium subscriptions include the company’s complete library of live sports and news, a collection of commercial-free music, global radio stations, and other audio content. Even without the subscription, users can ask Alexa to listen to a specific team’s game live or ask the voice assistant to “listen to sports” to learn what games are available at the moment.
The updated proactive alerts continue Amazon’s strategy of pushing Alexa to be part of people’s lives even when they don’t think to talk to the voice assistant. The reminders for events with uncertain times followed similar tools like Teachable AI’s direct instruction and Alexa’s latent goal inference, which suggests additional skills to use, like adding a timer after a request for a recipe. Alexa Hunches takes the principle to smart home devices, which Amazon later made available to third-party devices.