Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Merck aims to put Amazon's Alexa to work on voice-enabled diabetes tools

Alexa? Help pharma find patient solutions.

That’s what Merck & Co. is aiming for in its new partnership with Amazon Web Services to develop digital voice-enabled solutions for people living with chronic diseases.
Using Amazon Lex, the brains behind the Amazon Echo device and its well-known voice-enabled assistant Alexa, Merck plans to initially work on diabetes. Its first initiative will be a call to entrepreneurs, techies and industry types for an innovation challenge expected to begin within the next month.
The yet-to-be-named challenge will be run by strategy and innovation consultancy Luminary Labs. While specifics haven’t been released, the call to action will “be open to solutions broadly enough that innovators of all stripes can come up with really novel ideas but being narrow enough to provide guidance and carefully evaluate submissions,” said Sara Holoubek, founder and CEO of Luminary Labs.

An independent jury will evaluate the submissions based on their use of voice-enabled technology that addresses Type 2 diabetes patient issues.

This already ubiquitous home iOT will feature new skills, diabetes being just one. The potential for this is immeasurable.   Alexa, enable health skills !  may bring you to a new 'Alexapedia'.

Merck is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to explore the creation and delivery of innovative digital consumer solutions for people living with chronic disease by using Amazon Lex, the same deep learning technologies that power Amazon Alexa. Merck will initially focus on diabetes, a chronic, progressive disease that currently affects 415 million people around the world.
“Merck has a deep heritage of tackling chronic diseases through our medicines, and we have been expanding into other ways to help, beyond the pill.” said Kimberly Park, vice president, Customer Strategy & Innovation, Global Human Health, Merck. “We are excited to leverage the AWS Cloud to find innovative ways to leverage digital solutions, such as voice-activated technology, to help support better outcomes that could make a difference in the lives of those suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes.”
“We are pleased to work with Merck to explore how Merck can use the AWS Cloud to help create new solutions within health care that can connect people with information to help improve management of their own health” said Steve Halliwell, director of health care and life sciences, AWS.
This collaboration will leverage the expertise of both organizations — Merck’s expertise in epidemiology, drug development, observational research, medication adherence and patient education programs, and Amazon’s expertise in web services, connected devices and voice interfaces.
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