/>
X
Innovation
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

Amazon launches Alexa Together to help seniors age in place

The new subscription service continues Amazon's push to tailor its vision of "ambient computing" for different communities -- including elderly people who want to continue living independently.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer on

Amazon on Tuesday officially launched Alexa Together, a new subscription service designed to help elderly people live independently while staying connected to caregivers and loved ones. The service, first announced earlier this year, costs $19.99 a month or $199 per year. Customers can also sign up for a free six-month trial, while Care Hub customers will receive a free year of Alexa Together starting Tuesday.

The new subscription service continues Amazon's push to tailor its vision of "ambient computing" for different communities -- including elderly people who want to continue living independently. 

Earlier this year, Amazon decided to expand Alexa Smart Properties -- which creates vertical solutions for deploying and managing Alexa at scale -- to senior living communities. The tech giant was already working with service providers to bring Alexa to seniors, but the COVID-19 pandemic has driven higher demand for video-based communications and voice-activated functionality in senior living communities, Amazon said. 

Alexa Together offers an ageing customer 24/7 hands-free access to an Urgent Response professional emergency helpline. During an emergency, they can say, "Alexa, call for help," to connect with a trained agent who can request the dispatch of police, the fire department or an ambulance. When Urgent Response is called, Alexa will proactively notify a designated caregiver. 

The service also connects with third-party fall detection devices from Assistive Technology Service (ATS) and Vayyar. When a customer has fallen, it will prompt Alexa to ask if the customer wants to call Urgent Response and notify the caregiver. 

It also includes a "high-level activity feed" for caregivers and family members to monitor. It will notify caregivers every day when the ageing customer has their first interaction with Alexa or a connected smart home device. By the same token, it will notify them if there is no activity by a certain time. 

Amazon claims this feature was designed with the privacy of the ageing customer in mind -- it's only a "high-level" activity feed, so it doesn't go into detail about the customer's activities. For instance, a caregiver would be able to see if the client asked Alexa for entertainment, but not the song, podcast or Audible book they were listening to. 

There's also a Remote Assist feature that the ageing customer can choose to enable to let caregivers set up and manage Alexa features remotely.

Editorial standards