In this episode I reveal the technology that offers such great promise for boomers and their parents: digital personal assistants like Amazon’s Echo (Alexa) and Google Home. I outline three golden goals I hope to achieve for my own mom via this technology:
- Control over audiobooks
- Access to music, video and pictures shared with me and;
- Video calls using my flat screen display (TV)
The Saturday Night Live (SNL) spoof of seniors using the fictitious “Alexa Silver” is hilarious and actually provides some insight into what elders want from this technology that is, perhaps, of less importance to younger people. Controlling a computer with voice is something that amazed me in the original Star Trek, and again in Stanley Kubrick’s classic film 2001: a Space Odyssey (“Open the pod bay doors, HAL”). It only took us another 16 years to get there, but voice control technology is here now and it works…almost. In future Senior Moments I will show step-by-step how I achieve the three goals so that you can do the same for your family.
Detailed Objectives of the Three Golden Goals
- Content is to be delivered to any brand modern flat screen TV monitor.
- System is to be controlled by voice
- System components to be assembled from readily available off-the-shelf components. No coding! No obscure gadgets! No geeky hacks!
- System must be easily assembled by the average, non-technical person. If they can assemble a piece of Ikea furniture, they should be able to assemble this system.
- System must not disrupt the senior’s regular TV viewing habits.
- The system must must maintain four-sigma (99.38%) reliability (uptime).
Golden Goal #1: Control an audiobook
- Check out a book
- Play the book
- Pause the book and restart where it was left off
- Rewind the book by 15-30 seconds and replay
- Set a sleep timer
Golden Goal #2: Show pictures and videos sent by others, however they choose to send them (Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, email, app, etc)
- Show a video
- Show a photograph
- Show a slideshow
Golden Goal #3: Facilitate a two-way video-call
- See text messages sent by others
- Allow a two-way audio call (no video)
- Allow others to visually “check-in” on the TV owner (one-way viewing)
- Allow a two-way video call
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Presto and grazie!