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Can Amazon’s Voice Technology Make Living with Diabetes Easier?

By Amelia Dmowska

A new challenge from Amazon and Merck calls for innovative solutions that use Alexa voice technology to help improve diabetes management

Amazon’s intelligent cloud-based voice technology “Alexa” (incorporated in the Amazon Echo device) can do many things – play music, tell you the weather, and call your friends. But can “she” help improve life for people with type 2 diabetes, so living well is easier and less hassle?

Amazon and Merck think so. The two companies have partnered to create a new contest, the “Alexa Diabetes Challenge,” that calls on innovators, visionaries, and dreamers to submit solutions that use Amazon voice technology to help people better manage their diabetes. 

The challenge imagines Amazon Alexa as a “partner” in diabetes management. By connecting people to supportive online diabetes resources through voice commands, solutions might offer medication reminders, provide guidance for healthy lifestyle changes, or simply serve as a source of support as people take steps to lead happy, healthy lives with diabetes.

Judges are looking for innovative solutions targeted towards people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but that also keep the needs of caregivers, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders in mind.

Anyone is invited to submit an idea, and while having a technical background is not required to enter, contest participants will need to provide adequate information about the technical functionality of their solution (including details about necessary hardware, software, data sources, etc.). The solutions will be judged on five criteria: impact, experience, innovation, vision, and team potential. The grand prize winner will receive $125,000, and up to five finalists will receive $25,000. For full rules and regulations, visit the Alexa Diabetes Challenge home page here.

And if your ideas are more about local level innovation or initiatives, perfect! Check out DiabetesMine’s 2017 Patient Voices Contest here, accepting applications until May 19.