Saint Louis University is becoming the first university to equip every student living space with an Amazon Alexa-enabled device, while other colleges and universities have equipped dorm rooms with Alexa devices before, this is the first university to add them to everywhere that students live – including student apartments. Like Arizona State University, these Echo Dots will come with a unique Alexa skill that is going to let students ask it university-specific questions, like "What time does the library close tonight?" and many more. There are over 100 questions available. The Alexa skill will also be able to provide information about student events and other things happening on campus.
These Echo Dots are running on the Amazon Alexa for Business platform, so students and parents won't need to worry about privacy when it comes to these Echo Dots. That is because each Echo Dot is being managed by a central system, and it is not tied to any of the students Amazon accounts. All of the usage of these Echo Dots are anonymous, and no information is being collected. Finally, on the note of privacy, none of the commands to these Echo Dots are being recorded. Saint Louis University will be deploying about 2,300 Echo Dots, that will be ready for the beginning of the 2018-19 school year which starts in a couple of weeks.
Using Amazon Alexa to answer various university-specific questions is actually going to save the university money, and students time waiting on hold. As Arizona State University mentioned when it announced it was rolling out a slew of Echo Dots in its Dorms, students will routinely call up different offices on campus to ask pretty simple questions. Like when registration starts, when spring break starts, and so forth. Now, Alexa can do that with these Echo Dots, freeing up customer service at these offices and keeping students off of hold.