From helping to detect positive cases of infection to simply managing people's routines at home, voice assistants are busier than ever.
Most notably, in China they're even joining health workers on the front lines to help detect and guide those with COVID-19. Although they're also proving mighty helpful simply sitting at home, playing music and setting reminders for those not used to spending so long indoors.
Here's a quick look at what voice assistants are up to lately.
Using chatbots for early detection
In a LinkedIn post, Jon Stine from The Open Voice Network describes how China is enlisting chatbots to automatically dial residents and ask them about their travel history and physical condition. With bots covering a larger base than the average human caller, the government can identify early infections much more efficiently.
But asking questions isn't the only thing these AI-powered chatbots can do. If the person's response sets off any red flags, the bot will proceed with officially-recommended health care tips and guidelines. If it's a high-risk case, then the chatbot alerts a local health official to nip the spread of the virus in the bud.
On this side of the world, Orbita recently debuted their own COVID-19 screening chatbot to not only answer the public's most pressing questions, but also conduct a preliminary screening for symptoms. The best part is that this chatbot can be added to any healthcare provider's website for free.
Replacing buttons with voice control
Back in China, the government is taking full advantage of the fact that voice-controlled devices mean fewer dirty hands on public spaces. So, the first place they're harnessing this hands-free benefit is in elevators, particularly those in office buildings and hospitals.
By linking the elevator manufacturer XIOLIFT with voice technology by iFlytek, voice-enabled elevators that double as smart speakers are now being tested in buildings across the country. Plenty more Chinese companies are catching on too and releasing their own voice-controlled products to keep public spaces virus-free.
Keeping the public productive
In less official spaces, people around the world are relying on their voice assistants now more than ever. Here are just a few interesting ways people are using Voice to keep the gears turning during these anxious times.
Connecting with their loved ones
With social distancing as the new law of the land, people are using their Amazon Echo Shows to keep a virtual eye on their family and friends.
Staying sane with music
Some are just now discovering the power of Alexa-enabled music to set the tone for another day of self-isolation.
Just asked Alexa to play some "smooth jazz" while I #WFH and, well, that was not a bad decision.— Glenn Goodman (@glenn1480) March 17, 2020
Or to keep the little ones in the house asleep so the adults can get some much-needed work done.
I say “Alexa play meditation music” and there is instant peace and calm in the house. Even my constantly in motion dog lies down quietly! pic.twitter.com/woa6jaWSXD— Michelle (@shells166) March 18, 2020
Not to mention spreading the word to other parents in dire need of kid-friendly entertainment while schools are out.
If you have little ones at home - there’s a great App for Alexa called Animal Workout -— Dan Gheesling (@DanGheesling) March 16, 2020
it’s basically like a gym class for kids & parents - highly recommend 👍🏻
Sticking to their daily routine
Others are using the popular reminders feature to keep their sanity on track.
Or simply to remind office folk about basic maintenance while working from home.
"Alexa-- Set a reminder to my brush teeth while WFH."— Wade Beckett (@wadebeckett) March 17, 2020
Meanwhile, some are using their time at home to tinker around and get creative with what Alexa can control.
How are you using Alexa?
Is it "same old same old" or have you discovered new Alexa skills that others at home could find useful? Tell us on VOICE Twitter!
If you're looking for fresh ideas on what skills to enable while you're self-isolating, take a look at our latest post on 6 Alexa Skills to Use While You're Stuck at Home.
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