What is Alexa Together and how does it work?

(Pocket-lint) – Amazon is introducing an Alexa Together premium subscription service that expands on its existing Alexa Care Hub. For a fee, Alexa Together makes it easier to use Alexa and Echo speakers to both assist and check in on elderly loved ones or those who need a caregiver.

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What is Alexa Together and how does it work?

Amazon describes Alexa Together as a new way to “provide support for your loved ones, keeping you together even when you’re apart”. It’s a subscription service that costs a monthly fee. But, for that price, you get access to six caregiver features:

  • 24/7 Urgent Response: 24/7 access to trained agents who can help your loved one get assistance.
  • Fall Detection Response: If your loved one falls, Alexa can call Urgent Response and notify emergency contacts.
  • Remote Assist: Set reminders on a loved one’s Echo, manage shopping lists, link music services, and more.
  • Activity Feed: See snapshots of your loved one’s Alexa and smart home interactions.
  • Customized Alerts: Get daily alerts when your loved one first uses Alexa, or if it isn’t used by a certain time.
  • Circle of Support: Additional people 
can support your 
loved one.

The most interesting features are Urgent Response and a Fall Detection Response. Urgent Response is essentially 24/7 hands-free access to a professional emergency helpline. It allows a user to say to an Echo speaker: “Alexa, call for help”. They will then be connected with an agent, who can request police or fire department. Alexa will also send a notification to the caregiver.

Fall Detection Response requires third-party hardware from Assistive Technology Services (ATS) and Vayyar. ATS’s SkyAngelCare is a fall-detection pendant that communicates over Wi-Fi to Alexa, while Vayyar Care is a wall-mounted device that uses sensors and radio waves to detect falls. Both devices enable Alexa to ask a user if they want to call Urgent Response, rather than waiting for the user to ask for help.

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Beyond the upfront cost of the device and the Alexa Together monthly subscription cost, there are no fees to use SkyAngelCare and Vayyar Care.

The Remote Assist feature is also notable, as it allows a caregiver access to a person’s Alexa account, with their permission, in order to remotely set up features – like setting reminders, adding contacts, creating shopping lists, and linking music and video services.

The Activity Feed and Customised Alerts from Alexa Care Hub are now part of Alexa Together, too. They allow a caregiver to know if their loved one is up and moving around, by providing an alert in the Alexa app once the person first interacts with Alexa. Alexa Together works with other Alexa-compatible smart home devices to register activity, as well, including smart lights, thermostats, motion sensors, and so on.

Finally, the ability to add multiple caregivers (up to 10), through Circle of Support. This feature is coming in early 2022.

How much is Alexa Together?

Alexa Together costs $19.99 a month (or $199 per year). It expands upon the free Alexa Care Hub service, by providing a professional monitoring service and other helpful features. There is a six-month free trial, but all existing Alexa Care Hub customers get a free year of Alexa Together.

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Does Alexa Together replace Alexa Care Hub?

No. Alexa Together expands upon the free Alexa Care Hub service.

While Alexa Care Hub lets you remotely check in on a loved one and get alerts when they first use Alexa or Echo devices, Alexa Together adds a professional monitoring service to the mix. It can call emergency services for your loved one and offers fall detection via third-party hardware.

How to set up Alexa Together

Getting started

To get started, you need an Alexa Together subscription, an Echo device and Wi-Fi connection, and accounts for you and your loved one. They need to sign in to their Amazon account and will need a mobile phone number to receive a verification code during the setup process.

  1. After purchasing Alexa Together, you can start the setup process.
  2. Your loved one will get an email to confirm the setup.
  3. Once you’re both connected via Alexa Together, you can start using all the features.

If you are the person providing support to a loved one, you only need the Alexa app downloaded to your phone. For a better experience, Amazon recommends the person providing support also has an Echo device to use features like Alexa Calling or Drop In, or to enable video chat.

Need more help? Download Amazon’s Alexa Together Set Up Guide here.

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Which Echo devices support Alexa Together?

All of Amazon’s latest Echo devices support Alexa Together, though a model with a camera is probably best so you can Drop In or video chat with your loved ones. Amazon is offering a six-month free trial of Alexa Together as a bundle with the newest Echo Show 8, which you can buy here.

Also check out: Which Echo device is best for you?

Where is Alexa Together available?

At launch, Alexa Together is available in the US.

Want to know more?

Amazon has an entire FAQ page for Alexa Together here.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on .

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