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Alexa’s Moving In! Smart-home Technology Brings Convenience and Connection to VMRC

September 30, 2021
Categories: Our Community

“Alexa, what events are on campus today?”

This is one of many queries independent living residents can now get an answer to with newly introduced smart home technologies available through VMRC and our partner, K4Connect.

K4Connect, a senior-focused technology firm based in Raleigh, NC, integrates smart technologies that help residents stay informed, families stay connected and staff to be more efficient.

VMRC partnered with K4Connect in 2019 to provide a community application for residents that would streamline and enhance communication. First available to a small group of residents who would eventually become ambassadors of the initiative, it was rolled out on a large scale in late summer.

Through the app, residents access community announcements, news, events, dining menus and a staff/resident directory. It’s conveniently available on both mobile and the web and can also be shared with friends and family who want a peek into what’s going on around our campus.

Resident MaryMay Suter said, “I am fairly new to VMRC, so the directory in the K4 app has been invaluable to me. When introduced, I sometimes catch only a first name, so I open my trusty K4 app and type it in. To see a photo and name in writing has helped me learn and remember a lot of other residents.”

In the last few weeks, smart home features including an Alexa (Amazon Echo Dot) and thermostat, smart light switches, dimmer switches and smart outlets have all been made available for independent living residents.

VMRC’s digital experience manager Kaley Saxton has been meeting with residents to provide demonstrations of these new features.

She said, “It’s been exciting to see someone go from thinking they don’t need or want any smart-home features to then embracing the technology and really having fun with it.”

In addition to the convenience feature of being able to ask Alexa things like the day’s weather or what’s being served in the Main Street Café, the technology is also hugely beneficial for residents who cannot use the mobile or web versions of the app due to limited eyesight or hand mobility.

“If a person has use of their voice, they’re able to stay up-to-date with events, news and announcement, said Kaley.”

Another benefit to smart home technology is the added safety it provides. Voice commands allow a resident to turn lights on before entering a room and smart outlets can activate when motion is detected. Common phone numbers are pre-programmed into the Alexa’s VMRC provides allowing residents to use their voice to call the front desk if they’re unable to get to the phone.

Residents who wish to take advantage of these new smart home features are eagerly awaiting their arrival. Said MaryMay, "I’m looking forward to getting our Alexa! I placed an order on the day the technology was presented! 

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“Life is an adventure and I am happy to discover new life here at VMRC.”

- Sadie Showalter