Aloft Introduces Voice-Activated Hotel Rooms

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Aloft Hotels via Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced their newest feature in hotel rooms today; voice-activated controls.

Rooms at the Aloft Boston Seaport and Aloft Santa Clara have been kitted out with iPads that have had a custom Aloft app installed, and you can use it to adjust temperature, lighting, and the TV thanks to Apple’s Homekit combined with Siri.

When you first enter the room you can use the iPad as-is, which contains preset room lighting moods and options. You can also sign into your media accounts to give you the option of streaming movies and listening to your tunes.

The voice-activated hotel rooms fit right in with Aloft’s lineup of tech, which also includes Botlr the robotic butler who can even deliver items like toothbrushes and towels.

I generally love technology and think the idea of voice commands in hotel rooms is great. Less fingerprints all over common light switches, remotes and thermostats will make for a cleaner environment, and it has the potential to become intuitive. Execution will possibly be a different story though, at least in the beginning.

My typical conversation with Siri starts out with what I think is a simple request, such as placing a call to a family member or searching the web for a company. After several failed attempts and botched results I usually give up and simply take care of the task myself, but maybe other people have better luck than I do.

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I have heard people shouting at Siri, frustrated by the lack of correct response. People probably don’t want to be in their hotel rooms late at night and hear someone in the next room yelling repeatedly to Siri to turn off the lights, turn off the lights!

I can picture myself in a hotel room asking Siri to raise the temperature of the room and somehow finding myself in the dark as a result of a mistaken light command. After hitting my knee on the bed I crumple to the ground and scramble around on hands and knees while looking for a lamp switch. I realize that Siri has gone silent, and I cannot figure out how to revert things back to how they were.

Am I the only one who is slightly dubious that Siri’s current powers will execute voice-activated hotel room commands smoothly? There is reportedly customized software in place so maybe that limits the issues, but may also limit the choices.

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