RALEIGH — Older adults are one of the most vulnerable and isolated populations during this pandemic. But one local startup is stepping up to make sure that they’re safe.
K4Connect, which creates technology solutions centered to help older adults and individuals with disabilities, has teamed up with Amazon to distribute over 8,000 Echo Dots to more than 40 independent and assisted living communities in West Coast regions highly affected by COVID-19.
Those residents will now be able to use voice technology to stay more connected, while also gaining access to K4Connect’s flagship solution called K4Community. It brings together all the aspects of a senior living community: menus, event calendars, smart home automation, community management and analytics in an application that can be accessed on mobile devices or desktop computers.
“The opportunity to work with Amazon to serve older adults through this donation effort was obvious for us. COVID-19 has quickly magnified areas where voice technology can help, and fast – people need relief now,” said K4Connect CEO and co-founder Scott Moody, in a statement. “Our enterprise solution allows us to deploy, manage, and support these devices at scale and fully remote, meaning residents get the relief they need quickly and community staff teams are not burdened by installing or managing the technology.”
With the K4Community Voice integration with Amazon Alexa, residents can access information (announcements, daily menus), create new means of connection through voice-dialing with K4Community’s “Call My Neighbor” feature, and even reimage daily activities with socially distanced or virtual events like Hallway Sing-a-Longs with Alexa.
K4Connect also recently released the K4Community Hotline, a recorded phone message feature that allows community staff to keep residents and families constantly updated while relieving high inbound call volumes. This feature is also easily accessible for residents via voice through Amazon Alexa.
Amazon, meanwhile, donated the devices as part of its $5 million device donations program created in response to COVID-19.
The program will reach over 40 senior living communities, including Eskaton, MBK Senior Living (MBK), and Front Porch headquartered in California, as well as Era Living, Horizon House, and Bayview in Washington.
In late 2019, MBK teamed with K4Connect to lead its technology transformation through the K4Community solution which will support 3,400 residents and staff.
“Bringing K4Connect on as our technology partner allows us to uniquely deliver on our mission of providing quality programming and outstanding care for our residents,” MBK president Jeff Fischer said. “Our K4Community Voice pilots in 2019 were so successful that we immediately jumped at the opportunity to accelerate and extend that resource during COVID-19 and beyond.”
In recent years, K4Connect has become one of the fastest-growing companies in the Triangle.
It currently serves tens of thousands of residents at over 800 continuing care, independent living, assisted living and memory care communities across the nation.