Ranjana and Akhilesh, a couple living in Ghaziabad, are blind, but that has never stopped them from living life to the fullest. In pursuing their zest for life, Alexa has emerged as an unlikely partner in crime
From getting updates on local weather to listening to their favourite tunes to getting reminders about their friends’ birthdays or anniversaries, Alexa-powered Echo Dot is their go-to device. Alexa also reads out books to them on Kindle, whether in Hindi or English, and is helping them manage their smart home. Here’s what they have to say about Alexa: “It is very difficult to summarize the uses and benefits of Alexa in few lines. To put it simply- Alexa just rocks!”
Such stories are everywhere and their number seems to be growing every day. Customers in India like talking to Alexa and are interacting millions of times each week in English, Hindi and Hinglish. They interacted with Alexa 67% more in 2020 as compared to 2019. If you’re wondering what users feel about Alexa, sample this: Indians expressed their love around 19,000 times a day by saying ‘’Alexa, I love you’’ and asking ‘’Alexa, marry me’’ around 6,000 times a day.
It's easy to see why this is when we look at it in the context of the sheer variety of applications that Alexa has spawned for different people with varying needs, from various geographies, and numerous walks of life.
Take the case of Nikita Goyal and her niece Tejaswani from Jaipiur. Nikita finds that Alexa is not just an AI, it’s a companion. “The more I use it, the more useful it is. Easy to install, easy to set up, easy to use. Alexa has some pretty impressive capabilities and one of them is keeping the kids entertained. Alexa is not just an AI, it’s a companion, lockdown buddy,” she shares.
For Nipun Malhotra, CEO, Nipman Foundation (an organisation that works to advocate Rights of Persons with Disabilities), Alexa is definitely a positive step forward in creating a perfect electronic assistant for a person with disabilities.
Nipun has arthrogryposis, a condition involving weakness/lack of muscles in hands and legs, and uses a motorised wheelchair to move around independently. He has been using multiple Echo devices at his home to play music, control the TV, set alarms and reminders, get daily updates, etc.
For 80-year-young Rajith Lilani from Primus Reflections retirement home, Alexa has helped conjure up a variety of soup recipes by providing detailed cooking instructions. In addition, he says, “I go to her to play my favorite songs, bhajans, and set reminders. I think I have found a friend, companion, and guide in Alexa.”
For about 40 schools situated in a small Adivasi tribal belt called Lohandiguda, in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, Alexa has emerged as the newest friend and teacher for the children. All thanks to the Smart Classes project driven by Assistant Collector Abinash Mishra. Teachers attested that since Alexa came to the classroom, classes have seen improved attendance and children have become more interactive. Speaking about the project, the Asst Collector said, “It was so heartening to see them ask a variety of questions – from “how many teeth does an anaconda have?” to “How many seasons are there?” and yes also “Alexa, who made you?”
It has been 3 years since Alexa made an entry into Indian households. Just in 2020, Alexa responded to over 17 Lakh songs every day, made customers laugh close to 9,000 times every day by cracking a joke, delivered Bollywood dialogues in style 3,000 times every day and answered more than 86,000 factual questions every day! What’s more, Alexa even donned the role of a Purohit/Pandit- from reciting Bhajans to playing Aarthi songs, to answering than 4,000 requests per day during Durga Pooja, Dussehra and Navaratri festivals.
By all indications, Alexa is certainly here to stay on as a friend, philosopher, guide, and more!