St Louis University Will Be Placing 2,300 Echo Dots in Student Accommodation

By Karen Rice — Published August 16, 2018

St Louis University Will Be Placing 2,300 Echo Dots in Student Accommodation

Students embarking on their educational journey at St Louis University, a private four-year university, will be greeted by one very special lady- Alexa! The decision has been made to place Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers in all rooms throughout student accommodation, powered by Alexa for Business. What's more, thanks to the development of Alexa Skills, the voice assistant will be able to answer questions specific to campus living. This decision has been explained on the university website as the following:

“A custom SLU skill deployed on each device provides instant answers to more than 100 questions specific to the University, from ‘What time does the library close tonight?’ to ‘Where is the registrar’s office?’ Alexa will also be able to provide information about Billiken games, campus events, student organizations, and service and mission opportunities, among many other aspects of student life.”

The 'Alexa for Business' solution is a way for private organizations to manage smart speakers through a centralized system, however, St Louis University will not necessarily be the first university to take on this solution for students. Other colleges such as Arizona State University have put Echo Dots in student accommodation before however, this is the first time that every student room will be equipped with an Alexa device. This custom SLU will not be published in the Alexa skill store and the features will be restricted solely to devices on the university campus.

With online privacy seeming to be crucial to businesses throughout the U.S, it is no surprise that St Louis University is putting online security as a key focus of the program. The voice assistant devices will not belong to the students, rather to the university itself.  “This system is not tied to individual accounts and does not maintain any personal information for any of our users, so all use currently is anonymous. Additionally, neither Alexa nor the Alexa for Business management system maintains recordings of any questions that are asked.”  What's more, if a student for any reason decides against having the Echo Dot in their room, all they need to do it unplug it and store it until the end of the school year.

The 2,300 Echo Dots will be ready to use when classes start later this month.

 

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