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Best Buy’s urgent response service expands to Amazon’s Alexa devices

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Best Buy Co. announced on Friday that it will expand its Lively Urgent Response service to Amazon’s Alexa-enabled home devices (such as Echo speakers and Fire tablets).

When enabled, users simply say “Alexa, ask for help” and they will be connected to a vibrant agent who will assess the situation and dispatch medical institutions as needed.

“We are on the road to service, but it’s not just available by phone or personal emergency response. [devices] No longer, but they will be available through the equipment people want to use in their homes, “Best Buy Health President Deborah di Sanzo said in an interview.

This move is based on Lively’s existing access via Apple Inc. watches and Best Buy’s own Jitterbug mobile phone. Amazon’s Alexa, a pioneer in the smart speaker industry, has long been the dominant platform in the market, As competitors emerged, their share shrank..

Lively’s monthly subscription service, called Great Call when Best Buy purchased it in 2018, is primarily used by seniors. In 2021, the number of members increased by 15% to more than 2.5 million, and Best Buy announced in March.

While many have remembered one-touch personal emergency response device commercials for decades, the industry has evolved to allow customers to use everyday mobile and smart home devices in emergencies.

During the pandemic, consumer adoption of home health services such as virtual bookings is increasing, Di Sanzo said. She said the benefits of home care are also more accepted by health professionals.

“During the pandemic, consumers really got healthy, so Best Buy customers said,” We need technology to help take care of our families at home 365 days a year. ” That is. … as soon as we mention consumer technology, that’s the best buy area. “

Best Buy Health, including Lively and Current Health, generated $ 525 million in revenue last year. This is about 1% of the total revenue of Richfield-based Best Buy.

Before the pandemic occurred, Best Buy began training Lively services on a group of Best Buy store staff in blue shirts. For the past year, Geek Squad has been working to bring Lively’s personal emergency response devices to people at home, especially those who are part of Medicare and Medicaid.

This summer, Best Buy will begin training GeekSquad workers on patient monitoring services as part of the integration of a company called Current Health, which it acquired last year.

Launched in 2015, Current Health, headquartered in Boston and Edinburgh, UK, aims to provide care to patients at home through condition monitoring using connected devices and telemedicine services. We are developing various services. It works with hospital systems to reduce hospital admission rates as well as pharmaceutical companies that track clinical trials.

Earlier this week, Best Buy executives told analysts that Current Health had the best commercial booking quarter ever as it expanded its ties with healthcare systems such as Mount Sinai Health System, Parkland Health and the UK National Health Service. He said it was.

Di Sanzo said Current Health will continue to pursue healthcare system clients in both the United States and the United Kingdom to attract more global pharmaceutical clients.

Di Sanzo said there is still room for Best Buy to grow in chronic disease monitoring devices, skin care, fitness and wearables.Earlier this month, Best Buy Expand skin care products Include items like facial steamers.

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