Monday, March 27, 2017

Report: Alexa, Siri Battle It Out In Hotel Rooms’s battle with Apple over digital assistants is moving to a new venue: hotel rooms, where Alexa and Siri are both vying to be the voice-controlled service of choice for travelers.

The Houston Chronicle reports Marriott International, the world’s biggest lodging company, is testing devices from the two tech giants at its Aloft hotel in Boston’s Seaport district to determine which is best to let guests turn on lights, close drapes, control room temperature and change television channels via voice command.

In December, Wynn Resorts became the first hotel company to install Alexa-powered Echo devices, starting with suites at its flagship Wynn Las Vegas property.  The Vegas property is expanding the range of functions controlled by Alexa. It recently gave guests the option to listen to music on most radio stations, and is about to add a station of songs chosen by CEO Steve Wynn personally, Weaver said. Also in the works is an audio guest directory to replace the printed version.

Technology companies use hotel rooms as showrooms for new services and devices that can also control smart homes. Amazon and Apple are competing for dominance in the market, which promises to let consumers access and manage household systems such as heating, cooling, lighting and entertainment by speaking a request at home or using a smartphone from afar.

Hotel rooms are an ideal place for Amazon and Apple to showcase their devices and let guests see how they can be used to make their lives more convenient, said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at San Jose research firm Creative Strategies. She likened it to hotel rooms installing iPhone docking stations years ago so people could enjoy their own music.

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.

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