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Alexa and Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University is the first university in the country to bring Alexa-enabled devices, managed by Alexa for Business, into every student residence hall room or student apartment on campus. 

A custom SLU skill deployed on each device provides instant answers to more than 100 questions specific to the University, from “What time does the library close tonight?” to “Where is the registrar’s office?” Alexa will also be able to provide information about Billiken games, campus events, student organizations, and service and mission opportunities, among many other aspects of student life. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Alexa at SLU

What can I ask my SLU Echo Dot?

SLU is continually working to expand the SLU Alexa Skill to add more questions and make it more useful. We also evaluate new skills on an ongoing basis for use on our platform/devices. For details about what questions you can ask you Alexa Echo Dot, please see the questions section lower on this page.

I am concerned about my privacy with Alexa. What information does the Echo Dot in my residence hall room keep about me?

Saint Louis University takes the privacy of our students, faculty, staff, researchers and patients very seriously. Please see the additional privacy information on this page (on the upper right if you are on desktop and near the bottom of the page if you are on mobile) for more details.

Did the funding for the Echo Dot or SLU Alexa Skill cause an increase in my tuition?

No. Saint Louis University is the first university in the world to put an Amazon Echo Dot in every dorm room. Due to our innovative partnerships with Amazon (maker of Echo Dots) and n-Powered (creator of the n-Gage skill platform) and the standard University capital funding process, the dorm room Echo Dots and development of the SLU Alexa Skills were not funded through any increase to tuition costs.

Can I turn off (mute) the microphone on the Echo Dot?  

Yes, you can mute the microphone on your Echo Dot by pressing the button with the microphone icon. When muted, the light ring around the top of the Dot will turn red. You can turn the microphone on again by pushing the button a second time. You may also unplug the Echo Dot to turn it completely off.

Can I play music from my Echo Dot?  
 

Currently, due to limits on personalization, the Echo Dot in your residence hall room can only stream radio stations through the iHeartRadio and TuneIn skills. To search for stations available on iHeartRadio, go to: https://www.iheart.com/. To search for stations available on TuneIn, go to: https://tunein.com/.

The University is working with our partners to expand the availability of additional music streaming options. You can, however, use the Echo Dot as a Bluetooth speaker for other music streaming providers such as Spotify and Apple Music.

What happens if I damage or lose my Echo Dot?
 

Please let your RA know if you have lost or damaged your Echo Dot. There will be a minimal charge added to your account to cover the cost of the device. Your RA will also be able to get you a replacement Echo Dot for your room.

Can I opt-out of having an Echo Dot in my dorm room?

If you would rather not use your SLU-provided Echo Dot you can unplug the device and store it in a safe location in your room. You will need to turn it in during the checkout process at the end of the academic year to avoid a charge for the device. 

Can I use my own personal Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or other voice assistant device?  
Saint Louis University IT staff are working to configure a personal device wireless network on the campus. We anticipate this will go-live during the Fall 2018 semester. At that time, you will be able to connect and use your personal Alexa, Google Home, and other devices on campus.
Where did this idea come from? And why was Alexa chosen?  
 

Part of SLU’s strategic plan is to become a more innovative University. The idea to leverage personal voice assistants/smart speakers and develop a skill developed from a pilot IT innovation effort in the Spring 2018 to evaluate different voice assistant devices with students in dorm rooms. The pilot students overwhelmingly chose the Amazon Alexa platform as the best device.

What features are in the works for the future?  
We are working with our partners to enable more skills and add features to the SLU skill. 
Why won’t Alexa won’t answer my questions?  
That happens sometimes. Try adding "please" onto the end. Computers appreciate manners too.