Charities urged to develop voice-activated tech to support beneficiaries

Charities looking to ramp up their digital delivery of services need to consider using voice activated assistants such as Amazon Alexa, research suggests.

A survey by YouGov has found that four out of ten Britons believe being able to give verbal commands to a digital assistant “is such a time saver”.

Among those using such virtual assistants, Amazon Alexa is the most popular, used by 30% of those who regular access services and support through such technology.

More than a fifth (22%) use Google Assistant and a similar proportion (20%) use Apple's Siri, YouGov found.

The most popular way to access digital assistants is via a smartphone (45%), then a stand alone speaker device (34%).

The figures comes as charities increasingly look to use voice activated assistants to deliver services and support to beneficiaries.

Two years ago The British Heart Foundation became the first charity in the world to enable people to donate money and items through an Alexa-enabled device. Through the digital initiative donors are able to donate through Amazon Pay and arrange free collection of furniture and electrical items through Amazon Alexa.

Earlier this year the RNIB announced it had linked up with Amazon to offer information from the charity about sight loss through voice commands such as “Alexa, how do I register as sight impaired or severly sight impaired.”

According to the RNIB more than half of blind and partially sighted people say sight loss is a barrier to using the internet.

Meanwhile, last year elderly residents at care home charity Abbeyfield took part in a project to use Google Assistant devices for residents to use. All were given advie on using the techn ology, including asking about the weather and playing music and games.

According to Age UK half a million older people go at least five days a week without speaking to another person.

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