Guide Dogs has partnered with Amazon Alexa to launch a new smart home education and installation program, providing smart speakers to people who are blind or have low vision.
The voice activated technology allows Guide Dogs clients to navigate through their daily routines more independently, giving them greater accessibility and boosting their sense of community.
Guide Dogs is now underway with its Alexa install program, gifting clients Echo Dot home installation and education, with the option for participants to self-fund additional smart home devices.
They have also launched a Guide Dogs for Alexa skill, which provides voice access to Guide Dogs news and services, a calendar of upcoming accessible events, and for clients seeking further support, the ability to request a call back.
In 2022, Amazon and Guide Dogs launched a successful pilot program that found 60 per cent of Guide Dogs clients preferred to access information through Alexa over other channels.
Abby Jayasuriya and her Guide Dog Duke were among the first to embrace the possibilities of Alexa and since discovering Alexa during the pilot, Abby has enjoyed using her voice to access the Guide Dogs newsletter, use it for shopping and completed a guided HIIT workout via the 7-minute workout skill.
Duke is loving Alexa too, now that Abby has added an Ecovacs robot vacuum to help manage his fur and a Furbo pet treat dispenser, both controlled via Alexa from any room in the house.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT chief technology officer, Glenn Mason said the organisation is continuing to invest in the platform and working on new capabilities to further improve the customer experience.
Photo: Abby and Duke