Voice @ Emerson 

Emerson College was built and informed by voice communication. Now, in the 21st century, those same foundations are paving the way for the next “evolution of expression.”  Emerson is on the forefront of voice technology and is quickly becoming a “Voice Hub.” Our vision is to elevate voice technology to make it the most powerful mode of next-generation ideation. We’re looking forward to collaborating with professionals, students and faculty to facilitate technological innovation and voice-enable the Emerson College community and the Boston area.

Alexa, Launch Em!

We are happy to introduce you to Em, Emerson College’s virtual assistant. Em is a voice that talks to you in a conversational manner, ready to help you with many things. It has been integrated into our school network, thus, it can help you maneuver around college. Em can perform a variety of tasks, such as locating rooms and offices, informing you about upcoming school events, when to drop or add classes, and all the frequently asked questions students might have. Basically, Em can be able to answer just about anything you need around college. Em is meant to simplify your day and keep you informed about what is happening. Just ask Em!

To get started with Em, just say, “Alexa, launch Em” on your Alex-enabled device and then proceed to ask for information about the topics below:

  • University Events Calendar

  • Academic Advising & Admissions

  • Career Services

  • Housing & Residential Life

  • Information Technology Services

  • Student Dining Center

  • Emerson Police

  • Office of the Registrar 

  • Iwasaki Library 

  • Student Financial Services

  • University Health & Counseling Services 

Other Skills you can access with Em:

— 88.9 WERS, Emerson College Radio

Now you can be able to listen to Emerson College’s WERS radio station on your Alexa device. Just say, "Alexa play Emerson College Radio."

— Emerson College News-Flash

Catch the Emerson College news flash on your Alexa device anytime to know what’s happening at the College. Just say, "Alexa play my news flash."


How Does an Echo Detect its Wake Word?

Amazon Echo devices are designed to use on-device keyword spotting to detect the wake word and only the wake word:

  • Unless the mic mute button is lit red, the Echo device is analyzing audio to detect its wake word and only its wake word. No audio is sent to the Alexa cloud while this is happening.

  •  Wake word detection is done on the Echo device.

  • Only when the wake word is detected or the action button on the device is pressed does audio stream to Alexa in the cloud.

  • When audio is streaming to Alexa, the blue light is turned on.

  • Alexa is designed to stop processing the audio if it determines the speech is not intended for Alexa.

  • The audio stream closes immediately once our ASR system determines the customer has stopped speaking the request.

How do you Prevent an Echo Device from Responding?

All Echo devices have a microphone on/off button. When this button is pressed, the microphones are electrically disconnected and a dedicated red LED on the microphone button is illuminated to indicate the microphones are off.

Can I turn off the microphone on Echo devices?

Yes, you can turn off the microphone by pushing the microphone on/off button on the top of your device. When the microphone on/off button turns red (on the Echo Show there is a red LED), the microphone is off.

When an organization manages shared devices using Alexa for Business, what information does that organization have access to?

The organization can see and control which skills are enabled on a shared device, the room where it’s assigned, and the settings applied to the device.

When an organization manages shared devices using Alexa for Business, does the organization have access to voice recordings made by users of the shared device?

No, unlike with a personal Alexa-enabled device where a user can review their voice recordings in the Alexa companion app, Alexa for Business organizations cannot access any voice recordings or text transcripts of what a user said. In addition, the organization doesn’t see Alexa’s responses to users’ queries.

Are voice inputs processed by Alexa for Business stored, and how are they used by Alexa for Business?

Alexa for Business may store and use voice inputs processed by the service solely to provide and maintain the service and to improve and develop the quality of Alexa for Business and other Amazon machine learning and artificial intelligence services. Use of your content is necessary for continuous improvement of your Alexa for Business customer experience, including the development and training of related technologies. We do not use any personally identifiable information that may be contained in your content to target products, services, or marketing to you or your end users. Your trust, privacy, and the security of your content are our highest priority and we implement appropriate and sophisticated technical and physical controls, including encryption at rest and in transit, designed to prevent unauthorized access to, or disclosure of, your content and ensure that our use complies with our commitments to you.

How to Access Em:

Just like how we have various apps on smartphones, “voice skills” or “actions” provide the same function. You can enable a skill on your digital assistant, just like how you would download and use a new app on your phone.

Amazon Echo Device

If you have an Amazon Echo device, simply go into your Alexa app, search for the Emerson skills and enable.

Mobile Phone

If you don't have a speaker or device, you can-Download the Alexa app on your smartphone and sign-in with your existing Amazon account or create a new one. Search for the skill on the app and enable it.  Once enabled, you can use the skill through the app.