Amazon, Apple battle to make hotel rooms smarter

The tech giants are courting hotel companies to use the Alexa and Siri voice assistants to automate their rooms.

March 31, 2017

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The tech giants are courting hotel companies to use the Alexa and Siri voice assistants to automate their rooms.

Amazon got a lead in smart home assistants with its Alexa-enabled Echo speaker,
but Apple wants Siri to be just as popular. Image Source: Amazon

As technology matures, it's inevitable that companies must eventually tap the commercial market to maintain high levels of growth. Some smart home device makers have been courting commercial markets, but things could heat up now that Amazon and Apple appear to be in a fight for hotel chains' affection. Bloomberg reports that the two tech giants want hotels to use their respective voice assistants, Alexa and Siri, in their rooms. Better performance of one assistant over the other could affect how guests perceive their stay.

At the end of 2016, Wynn became the first hotel company to roll out Alexa devices, installing them in rooms at Wynn Las Vegas. The Marriott International is also testing Alexa and Siri at one of its Boston locations to determine which is best at helping guests do things, including turning lights on and off, closing and opening drapes and changing TV channels. The company plans on choosing one service over the other by this year.

Early indications suggest Apple has some catching up to do. Though Siri had a head start with the iPhone, Alexa seems omnipresent these days among smart home devices. Amazon opened up Alexa's API allowing it to be used by third parties, which has resulted in an incredible proliferation of Amazon's assistant.

Other hotel chains that have opted to try out these assistants also seem to be turning first to Amazon. A JW Marriott location in San Antonio, Texas has Alexa installed in 10 rooms so far and the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C. is also now using Alexa, according to Bloomberg.

The Google Assistant has yet to be found vying for the attention of hotel chains, but it might not be long. Amazon and Apple see the presence of their devices in consumers’ everyday lives, letting people encounter them even in hotels. This could be enough to attract buyers to get that same technology in their homes. While Alexa is clearly in the lead, that's an opportunity the other tech giants can't ignore.

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