VOICE activated technology will be trialled on elderly people receiving social care in Hampshire in a UK first.

Fifty elderly adult social care clients receiving support from Hampshire County Council will undergo a trial with Amazon Echo’s ‘Alexa’ technology in a bid to revolutionise social care in the county.

The county council has teamed up with Amazon and its partner, Argenti Telehealthcare Partnership to trial the technology which works with Bluetooth connectivity and WIFI.

Under the trial, clients will all receive their own device will be able to ask the voice-activated gadget to remind them of day to day actions such as when to take their medication and to check the arrival time of their career.

Alongside this the council is pushing for the technology to advise users to drink to certain times of the day alongside general care information for individuals.

The Amazon Echo device, which looks like a portable speaker, is able to listen out for voice commands and control internet-enabled devices around the home, including appliances and lights as well as stream music from the cloud and answer questions by searching the internet.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, portfolio holder for adult social care, said: “This is a world first for the county council and our care technology partners.

“Working directly with Amazon will ensure our trial is backed by the experience of one of the biggest internet-based retailers in the world.

“We are very excited about the possibilities this project could open up in the future and its potential to benefit the future of social care.”

It is part of a new scheme across the UK, which will see 16 councils receive £50,000 to improve use of digital technology across social care, part of the Local Government Association’s Local Investment Programme, financially backed by NHS Digital.

Linda Whalley, NHS Digital’s director of strategy, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the Local Government Association in making this funding available to invest in some really great projects that will benefit local people.

“We are also committed to making a positive change at a national level to social care to ensure as many people as possible can benefit from the services we provide.”

Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA Community Wellbeing Board, added: “Funding for these platforms will help both professionals and commissioners empower patients and therefore improve services and outcomes in the social care sector.”

Hampshire County Council's actions follows the work being done by the Luton and Central Bedfordshire councils to provide access to electronic shared care records and Wi-Fi within care homes, while also piloting the use of video-calling technologies for e-consultations.

The trial is expected to commence in December and if successful could be rolled out countywide in the next few years.


t: 023 8042 4880

e: richard.percival@dailyecho.co.uk