Have you bought an Amazon Echo voice recognition device for your home yet? If not, you’ve probably talked to Siri on your iPhone. Google is also in the game with its Google Assistant. In any case, you might be talking to one of them in your hotel room soon.
Voice recognition capability for personal devices is key to the deployment of so-called “smart home” technology that lets you control heating, lighting, appliances and other things without getting out of your recliner. And hotels want to bring that same convenience to their guests.
Some higher-end hotels have already deployed tablet computers in their rooms that let the guest control the TV, sound, lighting, temperature and other things via touch-screen icons or keyboards. And according to Bloomberg Technology, hotel rooms are the obvious next frontier for voice recognition assistants.
Bloomberg said Amazon and Apple are the primary competitors in this nascent field, and that the first installations are already happening. Most of the initial devices are Amazon Echoes, which use a digital assistant called Alexa. Hotels with Apple iPads in guest rooms may already have the digital assistant Siri in place, but they still need to be integrated with in-room systems and devices. The Siri app on guests’ iPhones might also be brought into the mix. After mastering the link with “smart” guest room functions, the technology might be extended to other hotel services like the concierge desk, restaurant reservations and so on.
Hotels installing Echo in some rooms and suites include the Wynn Las Vegas, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa in Texas, and the Four Seasons in Washington D.C. Marriott is understood to be evaluating a broader distribution of voice recognition technology for one of its chains later this year, Bloomberg said.
Still to be determined is exactly how far the voice recognition systems will go in meeting guests’ demands. “A key question is whether the interaction will be personalized, allowing guests familiar with the devices to log into their own accounts, or instead use a standard set of skills relevant to a hotel stay, like getting news reports, checking weather forecasts or calling for an Uber — commands more appropriate for those unfamiliar with the technology,” Bloomberg said.
Readers: Are you comfortable with voice recognition assistants? Do you have an Amazon Echo in your home, or do you often use an assistant on your phone? Please leave your answers in the comments!