Amazon will put 1,600 Echo Dots in ASU’s dorms

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The hands-free and voice-controlled devices will be provided to engineering students with the goal of preparing them to be leaders in the voice-technology field.

Photo: ASU

The Amazon Alexa team will donate 1,600 Echo Dots to Arizona State University (ASU) as a part of a voice-technology program that aims to improve student experience by providing them with access to information and services for the campus life.

The hands-free and voice-controlled devices will be provided to engineering students with the goal of preparing them to be leaders in the voice-technology field.

“It’s about innovation and ensuring our graduates are equipped to play a leadership role as voice-enabled technology becomes part of everyday life in homes, shopping malls, workplaces and cities,” said Kyle Squires, dean of ASU’s Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Students that join the program will have access to three undergraduate courses that will use voice interface. Participants will also be able use applications, tools and code examples to build their own Alexa skills.

“Once they are familiar with the devices, they are going to want to further develop their own skills and begin integrating that technology — the hardware and the skills — into other projects,” said Octavio Heredia, Fulton Schools’ Global Outreach and Extended Education director.

ASU informed that the inclusion of the Echo Dots is part of a plan to build a smart campus, which will combine data analytics, sensing, and connectivity to inform decision-making, optimize operations, and create a personalized campus experience.

This smart campus vision will also incorporate technology for facilities management, like energy, water, waste management, and predictive maintenance.

The project has ambitious goals, among them the automation of class attendance with the use of facial-recognition technology; “wearables” that replace ID cards for access to campus facilities; and digital assistants, powered by Amazon technology, that provide information.