The set of Amazon hardware products that are powered by your Alexa virtual assistant are used for everything from playing music to controlling different aspects of the home connected to a user, counting the time and more.
Amazon and third-party developers are also adding new "skills" all the time to Alexa's already impressive library. But what many people may not know is an important limitation of the assistant, something that Alexa can not do, at least not right now, although a user's life may depend in some circumstances. We are talking, of course, about how to call 911.
Many consumers could find themselves like someone like Bridget Taylor, 62, of Jonesboro, Arkansas, who earlier this year fell a little after leaving his bathtub. The mobile phone was not within reach and she wondered if you could hear Alexa call 911. The Wall Street Journal, which told that episode, is out with a piece that today explains why smart speakers of the likes of Amazon, Google and others – used in about 20 million homes in the US. UU. They face a series of regulatory and technical challenges to be able to make emergency calls.
On the one hand, paper notes, reliability on the Internet can be a problem, such as the importance of transmitting accurate location data and a response return number for those responding to emergency situations.
"Most speakers only offer unidirectional calls and do not have the same GPS data in real time as smart phones do," says the WSJ. "Even the sending of call location data to 911 mobile phones was a challenge because a large part of the country's 911 infrastructure was developed around landlines.
"Creating the ability to call 911 from a smart speaker requires a monthly additional 911 charge that customers or technology companies should pay to support the emergency call infrastructure. The current 911 monthly charges vary depending on the state or county, but usually oscillate Between $ 0.25 and $ 3.00 and are included in the telephone cordless accounts of consumer phones.
The statement continues to inform that, according to an Amazon spokesman, the company's Echo Connect can make emergency calls as it can be linked to landlines or other home phone services. The Echo and Echo Dot standard, however, can not.
Dan Henry, director of government affairs of the 911 industry group, the National Emergency Number Association, told the WSJ that it supported the incorporation of emergency calls to smart speakers only if devices can provide location information and a return number of call