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Saint Louis University has announced that it will be placing Amazon Echo Dot devices, powered by Alexa for Business, in every student residence hall room or student apartment on campus. While other colleges, like Arizona State University, have put Echo Dots in student housing before, SLU says this is the first time a college will equip every student living space with an Amazon Alexa-enabled device.
SLU’s Echo Dots will come with a unique skill that will allow students to ask over 100 university-specific questions like “What time does the library close tonight?” and “Where is the registrar’s office?” It will also be able to provide information about student events, speakers coming to campus, concerts, and more.
In regards to privacy concerns, SLU says that because it is using the Amazon Alexa for Business platform, every Echo Dot is managed by a central system that is not tied to any individual accounts. No personal information will be collected so all use is anonymous. The Echo Dots will also not keep any recordings of questions that are asked. If a student wants to opt out of using the Echo Dot given to them, they can simply store it, unplugged, and turn it in at the end of the school year.
All told, SLU will be deploying 2,300 Echo Dots that should be ready to use by the time classes start later this month.