Allergy medicine company Zyrtec recently released an Alexa skill that shares a daily report on how pollen and other allergens will make you feel that day. The skill was made available last week following an unofficial soft launch.
In addition to being able to tell you if you should anticipate a runny nose or watery eyes on any give day, the Zyrtec AllergyCast skill promises that with time and regular updates on how you’re feeling, it will be able to tell you which forms of pollen make you feel bad (taking into account everything from ragweed to cedar). While the WebMD skill can diagnose an illness based on symptoms, Zyrtec AllergyCast appears to be the only skill in the Alexa Skills Marketplace today that can identify the kinds of pollen that make you sneeze.
Instead of relying on pollen count alone, Zyrtec uses humidity, wind speed, and even social media activity by location to create an allergy impact score.
“The user self-reports how they’re feeling,” a Zyrtec spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. “This information is then run through environmental inputs specific to the user’s location pulled from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), pollen.com (a pollen tracking service created by QuintilesIMS), and the date/time of year to generate an Allergy Impact score. The specific method of calculating the Allergy Impact score from the different data sets is through a proprietary algorithm.”
All these fancy capabilities weren’t made exclusively for the Alexa skill. The Zyrtec Alexa skill is derived from the Zyrtec AllergyCast website, which was first made available in 2014. AllergyCast apps for iOS and Android debuted in late 2016. The AllergyCast apps also use location, weather, and pollen data to determine how allergies will make you feel on any given day.
Like the Zyrtec skill for Alexa, the World Air Quality Index action for Google Home draws on information from the World Air Quality Index Project and can also share insights about air quality, however this Google Assistant action tells you more about pollution than pollen.
See this recent VB roundup for more on Alexa skills to help you live a healthy lifestyle.