Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Alexa—the intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon for their smart voice-enabled wireless speakers.
Just ask, and Alexa not only shops, plays your favorite tunes and reads books for you, she can order you a pizza, talk you through recipes and even control your smart home!
If you live alone, then the possibility of an accident (such as slipping on something and remaining incapacitated on the floor, conscious yet unable to move a finger) most likely has crossed your mind, and the idea of having an AI assistant like Alexa around might be reassuring: after all, help is just a shout away.
Or is it?
Can Alexa Call 911 In An Emergency?
One of the basic functions Alexa does not have is make phone calls for you. Well, not at the moment, at least. This is quite disappointing for people who bought the Echo as a security blanket for themselves in case of an accident, or for elderly parents or grandparents so that they can easily call 911 should they be immobilized.
However, there are several ways around having Alexa make emergency “calls”.
Thanks to third-party add-ons or with the help of other devices, Alexa can alert friends and family should you ever find yourself in an emergency situation.
Alexa + IFTTT
IFTTT (If This Then That), is a free web-based service that lets people create applets (small applications that perform conditional functions) which you can use to notify your loved ones in case of an emergency. Setting it up with Alexa takes only a few clicks.
There are several apps that can do this, but one of the more popular apps is GroupMe, which IFTTT can utilize to send out text messages to your emergency contacts. Click here for instructions on how to set it up with Alexa.
Video Demonstration (it is a little 'different')
Alexa + Ask My Buddy or Mastermind
Ask My Buddy is a free service that Alexa can utilize—activated using voice commands—to send text, email, voice call or all three to your list of emergency contacts. This setup is actually easy to use and is a favourite of seniors and the mobility-challenged: if they needed any help, all they need to do is say a few words.
Mastermind is a similar service that lets you send text messages, make phone calls and a myriad of other commands on your mobile device and television via Alexa.
If you own an Alexa-powered device, you can easily enable these services (also called Alexa skills) directly on Amazon.com.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that Alexa can also offer medical advice to save your life—for example, how to perform CPR should someone have a stroke or heart attack—right after it tells the user to call 911 first.
Ask My Buddy - Video?
So can Alexa call 911 in an emergency?
No, not directly, not without the help of third-party apps or other devices. You have to admit though—it’s still a handy thing to have around in case of emergencies.
Can Alexa Make Any Phone Calls?
Now, some of you may be wondering whether or not Alexa can make any phone calls at all. The answer is NO. However, one of Alexa’s skills is to “call” your cell phone should you ever have misplaced it in your house.
If you use TrackR, you can now integrate it with Alexa to make your phone ring, and a lot of other cool features as well.
Alexa currently cannot make phone calls per se, but Amazon has plans of releasing more Alexa-powered devices later ?in 2017, that will allow people to make phone calls by voice command, and also allow users to talk with others who have Alexa devices as well—even possibly with video.
But until that time comes, we’ll all just satisfy ourselves with asking Alexa to dim down the lights, play some good music while we curl up with a good book and a glass of fantastic wine—both of were ordered via Alexa earlier today.
Do you use Alexa? Tell us about any weird or wonderful uses you have for her.? Hopefully they were not emergencies!