By lowering the hardware requirements needed to add Alexa to a device, Amazon is making it much easier for companies to build single-purpose devices such as light bulbs and light switches with Alexa functionality. Apparently the virtual assistant can now order prescription refills and remind people to take their medicine. To that end, Amazon announced yesterday that it has introduced two new Alexa capabilities that would allow the developers to give it a more natural and intuitive voice experience.
"We're thrilled to help our Giant Eagle Pharmacy patients more easily integrate prescription management into their everyday lives with the introduction of the Giant Eagle Pharmacy skill", said Jim Tsipakis, Giant Eagle senior VP of pharmacy.
Alexa Voice Services (AVS) is already widely used with its Echo smart speakers and other devices that can be connected to a network or the internet, such as lightbulbs and TVs.
Last year, Amazon acquired prescription delivery start-up PillPack for just under $1 billion; and last month, it added Health Navigator to its portfolio, which provides online symptom checking and will be offered to Amazon employees.
Amazon is keen to point out your privacy is protected when opting to use Alexa for prescriptions.
"Alexa will first recognize you by your voice, then ask you for the personal passcode you created during the setup process". The more interaction there is the better Alexa performs. Customers can review and delete their voice recordings at any time on the privacy settings page, via the Alexa app, or by voice.
One thing to keep in mind, if youre really looking to switch languages: Alexa now speaks in multilingual mode in three countries: English and Spanish in the US, Indian English and Hindi in India, and Canadian English and French in Canada. "For example, the news speaking style makes Alexa's voice sound similar to what you hear from TV news anchors and radio hosts". Unfortunately, Amazon hasnt chosen to make that an option yet.
While talking to a voice assistant has proven to be useful in enabling technology to do our bidding whenever we ask, it just not the same as talking to a human being.