It’s an exciting week here at Virgin Pulse, as we announce the expected launch of the very first Amazon Alexa Skill for employee wellbeing! The Virgin Pulse Alexa Skill, available this month (March, 2017), will introduce our members to a screenless experience designed to increase engagement on our platform by incorporating healthy habit building into their existing daily routines.
What is an Alexa Skill?
As the “brain” that powers the Amazon Echo family of devices (which includes the Echo, Echo Dot and Tap), Alexa connects users to thousands of 3rd party programs through skills, which are Alexa’s version of apps. Alexa skills are quickly transforming how consumers interact with their environment, as many skills are designed to make daily behaviors effortless through voice activated technology. Gone are the days when you scoured the internet to find a healthy recipe for dinner; Alexa can tell you in an instant what you can make with the ingredients in your fridge. Alexa skills can also tell you a joke, walk you through guided meditations, call a cab for you, and even order you a pizza. The most useful skills, however, link to your existing accounts and devices so you can keep your life in check by using Alexa as a virtual assistant. The Virgin Pulse Alexa Skill will connect members to the Virgin Pulse platform so they can track their activity, assess their health goals, and receive wellbeing reminders – all through a touchless, screenless experience.
How Will Members use the Alexa Skill?
The Virgin Pulse Alexa Skill will be seamlessly integrated with our platform, proving our commitment to creating and providing innovative tools that help employees incorporate health into their daily lives.
Members will interact with the Virgin Pulse Alexa Skill in three primary ways:
- Receive updates on progress towards goals
- Track healthy habits to the Virgin Pulse platform
- Get reminders and prompts to check in on additional healthy habits that may have been overlooked
In the coming months, additional interactions will be added to this set of capabilities, in an effort to fully round out the screenless wellbeing experience for members and to fully incorporate daily healthy habits into personalized routines.
How Could This Game Change Employee Wellbeing?
As Virgin Pulse and other businesses continue to deliver tools that bring wellbeing skills out of our members’ devices and in to their environment, healthy habit building will become incorporated into all aspects of life. Dr. BJ Fogg tells us that one of the surest ways to encourage a behavior is to make that behavior as easy as possible. “Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa will make many of our daily tasks easier, and it’s exciting to see Virgin Pulse innovate on the Amazon Alexa platform,” said BJ Fogg, Director of the Persuasive Tech Lab, Stanford University and member of the Virgin Pulse Science Advisory Board. “I expect this skill will help members interact with their health in a fun, useful, seamless way.”
With Alexa, we’re making it a lot easier for everyone to interact with Virgin Pulse by removing two requirements: sight and manual device manipulation, which means more members than ever before will be able to accomplish behaviors that will help them get and stay healthy, like tracking their sleep, daily steps and other healthy habits. This is only the beginning of how screenless experiences will shape wellbeing in the years to come. Through integrated programs addressing nutrition, movement, stress resilience, relationship building, financial training and more, employees will soon be able to leverage engaging, innovative technology to help them master powerful life skills wherever they are – even when they have their hands full! We’re excited to say that the future of employee wellbeing is here, and Alexa has opened the door to lead it in.
To learn more about the Virgin Pulse Alexa Skill.
Mindi Ennis is a product marketer who joined the Virgin Pulse team in 2016, continuing her 12+ year career in the HR space. Her time outside of work is typically spent searching for her next favorite IPA, kayaking with her husband or playing with her dog, Max.