Amazon turn Veterans Centre into Alexa-enabled ‘smart centre’

Blind Veterans UK, in collaboration with Amazon, has unveiled a new ‘smart’ system at its centre in Llandudno, Wales which uses Alexa devices to give veterans more independence, and carers new ways to communicate.Entrance lobby of the Llandudno Blind Veterans UK Centre

The system, called Alexa Smart Properties, has been installed by Amazon with help from voice-skill developers Vocala. It enables the visually-impaired veterans to get assistance with orientation around the centre, access information, entertainment, and specific services such as lunch menus, and to call reception with Alexa-to-Alexa calling – all  using only their voice. 
It also benefits the care team by enabling them to make announcements, voice and video calls to other Alexa-enabled devices throughout the centre.

“Blind Veterans UK is one of the first organisations in the UK to install Alexa Smart Properties and we are really excited about the benefits it will bring to the residents and the care team”, Said Meryem Tom, Director. Alexa Enterprise EU.

“Our support to Blind Veterans UK allows us to demonstrate Amazon's commitment to all people with disabilities and our military communities around the globe,” said John Quintas, Director of Inclusive Communities at Amazon. “Our Alexa technology improves the quality of life for veterans by helping to make their lives more independent, accessible and fun. We are honoured to support Blind Veterans UK and to help transform their centre in Llandudno.”

Blind veterans UK – looking ahead through tech

Blind veterans UK provides rehabilitation, training and support services. They show that, with the right skills and use of technology, being independent and living a rich and fulfilling life can once again be a reality for those with sight loss.

“Having identified the need to make our centres truly centres of excellence, including in technological advancement, we reached out to Amazon Web Services to find solutions.,” said Kathy Boardman, Blind Veterans UK Llandudno Centre Manager. “We’re very excited to have Alexa as an integral part of the team at our Centres for Wellbeing.”

“Supporting our blind veterans with access to information, navigating their way around the site, making informed decisions, and interacting with others will be life-changing for everyone, especially the person adjusting to a vision impairment and, with our support, rebuilding their life after sight loss.”

Harnessing technology has always been part of the Blind Veterans UK ethos and the Blind Veterans Smart Centre, powered by Alexa Smart Properties, will further enhance blind veterans’ experiences and help them be even more independent. It does this in three ways:

  • Orientation – A blind veteran will be able to self-orientate within any area of the centre by asking Alexa. This includes getting from point A to point B and locating objects within a specific room.
  • Access to information - A blind veteran will be able to find information such as what’s for lunch, fire safety procedures and access news on the charity and its history by asking Alexa.
  • Access to services - A blind veteran will be able to find out what events are scheduled and listen to radio by asking Alexa.

Find out more about the empowering potential of Alexa

Alexa Accessibility Hub

The main place to go to find out about Alexa and her accessibility features is the Alexa Accessibility Hub

More AbilityNet resources

We have numerous articles on our site about how the family of Echo products are empowering people with disabilities – here’s the search results page for the term ‘Alexa’ – you’ll be amazed just how much top tips and news there is.

Alexa podcasts

If podcasts are more your thing, why not check out Dot to Dot – the daily five minute skill demo show - or The Echo Show – a weekly look at all things Alexa with myself and excellent co-host Shaun Preece.

More resources from AbilityNet