Asbury Group Integrated Technologies has partnered with Sodexo, Connected Living and Amazon to pilot the Smart Living program at Asbury Communities, a system of not-for-profit continuing care retirement communities based in Maryland.

Residents will be able to have more engagement through the program, said Nick Patel, president of Asbury Group Integrated Technologies, a full-service IT firm managing the pilot.

“We did extensive due diligence and were excited to hit the ground floor with this voice-integrated technology and social media platform,” he told McKnight’s. “We looked at the market segment. We knew Asbury Methodist were very tech savvy. What we found is the vast majority of residents had smartphones: They were a fully connected group.”

Patel describes the program as a “bold step forward” and said that residents and family members want to connect with the platform. Amazon is “leading the charge to educate voice providers to really create integrated technology,” he said. The system’s pilot was to go live in November with a larger rollout coming soon afterward.

In a demonstration at the LeadingAge convention in October, residents could be seen saying, “Alexa, ask Connected Living what’s on the menu today.” Residents  using the program also can hear a company calendar of events.

Sodexo and Connected Living have been in a relationship for about 18 months, and sought to integrate some of the platforms, said CEO of Seniors, Sodexo North America, Joe Cuticelli.

“Everyone should know that this kind of tech is the new norm,” he told McKnight’s. “It’s fairly seamless because of the infrastructure. It’s applicable at every level of care.”

Connected Living has a suite of technology functions, while Sodexo has long relationships and services at many senior living locations. The personal assistant aspect also reflects increased consumer demand: In 2018, one in six US adults, around 39 million, will have a voice-activated smart speaker, one survey estimated.