I’m a 26 year old woman and I don’t have an Amazon Echo.
This Christmas, an Amazon Echo was at the top of my 80-year old grandfather’s wish list.
In an unexpected twist of events, Alexa has more relevance for my grandad than for me.
Alexa’s capabilities have struck a tipping point with an older generation, where the features meet key needs, and the voice-activated method allows for accessibility.
The reason I haven’t (yet) brought Alexa’s dulcet tones into my home is not because the Echo proposition lacks resonance with me, but because I have already met these needs with other products.
My UE Boom Bluetooth speaker gives me superb 360° sound when I’m streaming music. Siri on my iPhone does a great job of keeping me on top of the day-to-day by allowing me to easily and quickly set reminders. The apps on my smartphone provide me with convenient ways to change my home temperature or speedily find the answers to trivia
On the other hand, until this Christmas my grandad didn’t own technology to simplify these tasks. The need was there, but he would rather carry on without than have to deal with the hassle of working out which product to buy and dealing with complicated set-ups.
Enter Echo. One device equipped with all of these key features, and all you have to do is plug it in and speak. No fancy controls or operating systems to negotiate.
The Echo also has a number of benefits that particularly lend themselves to an older demographic. Thinking functionally, this includes being able to set daily reminders to take pills or being able to get the latest headlines without having to locate the newspaper or TV remote.
More emotionally, it is easy to see how Alexa could play a role in combatting loneliness. Whether using Alexa’s skills to have an audiobook or music on in the background, or asking her questions, the aural nature of interacting with the Echo could certainly help meet the need for company.
With ‘brand sound’ becoming increasingly important, and most people being a tech adopter to some degree, brands across all sectors, from healthcare to entertainment, should consider the role of voice activated devices to serve the real and diverse needs of their customers.