To make it easier for people to access its services and get critical safety information, the American Red Cross is expanding its reach with voice technology through Alexa, Amazon's voice service.
By using Alexa-enabled devices, people can enable skills for Alexa to schedule a blood donation, get valuable first aid information, or receive notifications about an approaching hurricane. This is in addition to the currently existing ability for Alexa users to make financial donations to the Red Cross.
"Supporting the nation's blood supply and helping keep people safe are among our top priorities and we are constantly looking to make it easier to share this lifesaving information," said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. "Now, we're using innovation and voice technology to reach a broader group of Americans with these new skills for Alexa."
HOW IT WORKS
The Red Cross Blood scheduling skill helps users schedule a blood donation appointment, find blood drives nearby and get notification reminders. Blood donors can also link to their Red Cross account to manage their appointments. Donors can open the Red Cross Blood skill with a selection of prompts such as, "Alexa, open Red Cross Blood skill," and ask, for example, "Alexa, find a blood drive."
"The Red Cross First Aid skill gives users valuable advice and tips to prepare for many emergency situations they might face," said Joel Sullivan, chief executive officer of American Red Cross of Tennessee. "You can test your first aid knowledge and plat the first aid quiz for different topics covered by the skill." First Aid learners can open the Red Cross First Aid skill and ask, for example, "Alexa, how do I treat a bee sting?"
The Red Cross Hurricane Alerts skill helps those who live in hurricane prone areas, or who have loved ones who do, receive notifications when a hurricane watch or warning is issued for locations important to the user, along with vital steps on how to prepare. Hurricane alerts can be set up for U.S. locations and territories of interest via the Hurricane Alert skill by asking "Alexa, ask Hurricane Alerts what are my alerts".
All of the Red Cross skills are available to anyone with an Alexa-enabled device such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show or Echo Spot, providing a convenient, voice-enabled experience. The skills can be enabled in the Alexa Skills Store through the Alexa app or Amazon.com.
For more on the American Red Cross skills for Alexa, please visit redcross.org/alexa-skills.