Amazon Adds Alexa Emergency Assist to Echo Devices
Access emergency services without your phone through your Alexa device -- but not for free.
Sarah Lord covers TVs and home entertainment. Prior to joining CNET, Sarah served as the tech and electronic reviews fellow at Insider, where she wrote about everything from smart watches and wearables to tablets and e-readers. She began her career by writing laptop reviews as an intern and subsequent freelancer at Tom's Hardware. She is also a professional actor with many credits in theater, film and television.
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Amazon is making it easier to get emergency help without your phone. The retail giant announced a new Alexa Emergency Assist service as part of its September product event on Wednesday. The service will allow customers to reach emergency responders through Echo devices while also sending alerts to emergency contacts. The service will cost $6 a month or $59 a year and will be available later this year. Guard Plus customers can access the Alexa Emergency Assist for $5 per month or $50 per year.
In an emergency, users can just say, "Alexa, call for help," to be connected to an agent, who will then request emergency services from the police, fire department or an ambulance, based on the information they provide during the call. Users will be able to add their information including their home address, medications and allergies, and emergency contacts to their profile, which can then be sent to first responders.
Unlike emergency assistants on phones that use the device's sensors to detect falls and crashes, Amazon's services rely only on voice to self-report an emergency. Users will need to speak to an Alexa device and ask for help in order to activate the emergency services. The service seems as though it could be helpful for elderly customers who might fall in their homes and can't get up but don't lose consciousness.
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