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Because you can’t escape it, Amazon Echo’s are coming to a hotel room near you

Alexa, bring me up some more towels.

amazon echo hotel alexa
Image: The Verge

If you’re traveling this summer, don’t be surprised if you find another guest in your hotel room. With the new Alexa for Hospitality program, Mariott International is placing Amazon Echo smart speakers in rooms to make your stay more pleasant.

Under the program, Alexa becomes integrated into a hotel’s existing amenities and services to become a virtual concierge. Alexa simplifies tasks for you like playing music, ordering towels, controlling in-room temperature or lighting, finding local restaurants and attractions, calling, and even checking out.

According to Mashable, Amazon has taken into account privacy when creating Alexa for Hospitality.

For starters, the hotel doesn’t access your Amazon data. As Daniel Rausch, vice president of smart home for Amazon explains:

If you connect to your personal account, it’s exactly like home. We consider that data, at that point, yours. All of your voice utterances work just like at home. You’d see them on the Alexa app or online — you can delete them one at a time, you can delete them all at once.

Perhaps more importantly, you don’t even need to enter your Amazon account information to use the services.

Here’s what you get:

  1. Hotel stuff: Ordering toothbrushes and the like, calling the front desk, room service checking out — now you can do all of that via voice. Depending on how the room is set up, you may even be able to control various smart home gear like lights and blinds. (Notably, Drop In, the service that lets you make quick calls to other Echoes, isn’t enabled.)
  2. Get recommendations: The hotel can preprogram Alexa to give tips on restaurants and activities in the area. However, if you hear something you’re interested in, it’ll connect you with the concierge — Alexa for Hospitality can’t make reservations on its own.
  3. Play media: With access to default audio services TuneIn and IHeartRadio, Alexa for Hospitality can play a decent amount of music, and hotels can create their own custom playlists that suit the mood of the hotel.

For now, Marriott is installing Echoes without screens, including the Echo 2, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot. These are no different than the consumer models, except for two exceptions: they can’t be factory reset, and they’ll only connect to the hotel Wi-Fi.

If you’re still worried about privacy even with the safeguards in place, you can also unplug the Echo. What do you think? 

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