We have added a new way to connect with VADF: Amazon Alexa! It's the artificial intelligence “personal assistant” that powers the Amazon Echo. Now, along with giving the latest news and ordering an Uber, Alexa can read content from the VADF Facebook page! Cool, right?
It’s courtesy of VADF member Ahmed Bouzid, a techie brainiac (right) who is CEO of McLean-based Witlingo. The company designs and builds “skills” –the voice-powered apps that run on platforms like Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana.
The field is growing exponentially -- the number of Alexa “skills” has doubled to 15,000 since the beginning of the year -- and VADF is now one of those skills.
To get VADF on Alexa, just ask Alexa to activate by saying “Alexa, enable Virginia Democracy Forward.” After it is activated the first time, ask Alexa anytime for the latest updates by saying: “Alexa, ask Virginia Democracy Forward for the latest news.” Instead of going to the VADF Facebook page for updates, ask Alexa to read out the latest posts/news to you. Have any post texted to your phone by saying, “Alexa, text it to me” as you listen to the post.
Ahmed is a great evangelizer for this powerful new means of communications. He recently donated an Echo to a blind woman in Southeast DC so she could reduce her reliance on others to do everyday tasks for her and regain some independence.
Along with building VADF’s skill at no charge, Ahmed is building Alexa skills pro bono for nonprofits around the Washington area and for political campaigns he supports, including the Northam for Governor campaign, which VADF is supporting. Activate the Northam skill by saying “Alexa, enable Ralph Northam,” and get updates by saying “Alexa, ask Ralph Northam for the latest news.”
These Alexa skills give users the ability to get the latest info from the Northam campaign and make a donation by voice. Check out this video for how it works:
Interested in ordering an Echo? I just bought one after talking to Ahmed (he’s a heck of a salesperson!). And it’s another way for us to get our message out on a new platform. The more way we can communicate, the better.
Plus, it’s super hip!