The Admiral at the Lake, founded in 1858, built a new 31-story building in 2012, so it has a modern fiber-optic backbone. The building has plenty of bandwidth with a 1-gigabit-per-second internet connection and 250 HPE Aruba Networks Wi-Fi access points.
The Echo devices are easy to install and manage. The retirement communityâ€™s residential technology steering committee helped configure and install them in residentsâ€™ rooms. Littlejohn uses Amazonâ€™s web-based management software to centrally manage all the devices.
â€śYou connect them to the internet and push down the configuration. I havenâ€™t had to intervene once,â€ť says Littlejohn, who this year plans to make smart speakers available to residents in assisted living or who receive skilled nursing services.Â
Back in California, the nonprofit Front Porch piloted the use of Amazon Echo smart speakers in 2017. The Glendale, Calif., organization that owns 10 full- service retirement communities knew immediately that the technology was a game changer, says Chief Innovation and Technology Officer Kari Olson.
When Front Porch surveyed residents at its Carlsbad By The Sea retirement community in San Diego, 100 percent said the Echo made their lives easier. Likewise, 71 percent felt more connected to family, friends and the community, and 93 percent said pairing the devices with other smart technology increased their enjoyment.
â€śRight there, we knew we were on to something,â€ť says Olson, who is also president of the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing. â€śWe were worried that technology might isolate people, but this is a platform that creates convenience, independence and well-being, and strengthens connections.â€ť
The organization has a strong network infrastructure to support the devices, having installed Cisco Aironet Wi-Fi access points throughout the 10 retirement communities in 2014.
Today, two-thirds of Carlsbad By The Seaâ€™s 225 residents use Echos; nearly 600 users are spread across eight Front Porch properties, and the organization is exploring new uses, such as voice-activated augmented reality goggles.
â€śThe technology is so impactful and easy to use,â€ť Olson says. â€śItâ€™s something older adults and their loved ones have gravitated to. We have yet to fully tap the potential of this.â€ť