Wynn Las Vegas to Equip 4,748 Hotel Rooms With Amazon Echo

John Cook, writing for GeekWire:

Alexa, open the curtains?

You may soon be able to ask that question when traveling to the Wynn Las Vegas hotel, which announced today that it will place Amazon’s Echo device — powered by the voice assistant Alexa — in all 4,748 hotel rooms. Wynn Resorts called it an “industry first,” and founder Steve Wynn seems extremely excited about the concept of allowing hotel guests to get basic information about their rooms and the hotel rather than calling the front desk.

“I have never, ever seen anything that was more intuitively dead-on to making the guest experience seamlessly delicious, effortlessly convenient, with the ability to talk to your room and say: ‘Alexa, I am here, open the curtains, lower the temperature, turn on the news.’ She becomes our butler at the service at each of our guests.”

There’s an argument that we’re still in the very early stages of voice-driven personal computing. That, for example, Apple is not too late in putting out an Echo-like dedicated appliance. But Amazon is running full steam ahead here. 5,000 hotel rooms here, 5,000 hotel rooms there, and all of a sudden Echo is the entrenched market leader.

Controlling the drapes, lights, and TV in a hotel room is a perfect example where voice control is the right interface. I’ve stayed at the Wynn, and their hardware interface for those things isn’t bad, but there’s only a controller on one side the bed. Voice works from anywhere in the room.

I am curious, though, how Wynn is going to handle the privacy issue. With good reason, hotel guests might not want an always-on recording device in their rooms.

Sidenote: Just me, or is Steve Wynn starting to dress like a Bond villain?

Monday, 26 December 2016