Alexa, Call Room Service: Marriott Is Getting Smart Speakers

We're just at the start of a golden age of smart speakers. There's still no telling how products like Amazon's Alexa, Google Home, and Apple's Siri will change the way we interact with technology and services. Individuals have been leading the way at home, but now the hotel industry is getting in the game.

Marriott International and Amazon announced this week that guests at 10 Marriott hotels in the U.S. will soon be able to use Alexa for Hospitality, an in-room smart speaker. You can simply ask the device for a range of tasks or experiences, from learning when the pool is open all the way to checking out. Furthermore, guests will also be able to connect their own Amazon accounts to the hotel's Alexa to access all their favorite cloud-based media and settings.

Privacy advocates, of course, have long been raising the alarm about corporate listening devices in formerly private spaces. Marriott and Amazon both insist that they've taken measures to protect hotel guests, both inside the premises and beyond. Any in-room Alexa will be muted when new guests arrive, and they will only work on the hotel's wi-fi. Any voice data will be deleted daily and never shared with the hotel itself.

We're already starting to see smart speakers in the office and use them for voice shopping. They're becoming more integrated in home living with each upgrade. Hotels are a test case for bringing smart speaker technology into sensitive areas like health care. These 10 Marriott hotels may be the first in a long line of new normal.