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by Kevin Coupe

Fast Company has a story about the Aloft hotel chain, and how it has come up with a new innovation - the voice-activated room.

According to the story, "The company's future-gazing technologists have developed an app that runs on an iPad that controls the room using Apple's Homekit and Siri. It allows guests to change the temperature, switch the lights on and off, and turn on the television by using voice commands. Internally, this effort has been dubbed 'Project: Jetson' because, once set up, it really does feel like we're in the hotel room of the future."

The system is being tested at an Aloft property in Boston, and here's how it works, according to Fast Company:

"When you enter the room, the you receive instructions on the TV screen about how to set up voice activation. When you pick up the iPad, it takes about two minutes to say a few sentences so that Siri is able to recognize your voice. But once the system is set up, you can say 'Hey Siri' from anywhere in the room, and she will respond to your commands. (If you decide not to set up the voice activation, you can always just press the start button on the iPad, the way you would do on your iPhone, to speak to Siri.)

"The system is already loaded up with several room moods. You can say 'reset' for the lights in the room to appear how they would when you first step into the door. If you say 'relax,' the lights automatically become warmer and less harsh. 'Review' turns on the TV screen, while 'revive' gently lights up the room for the morning.

"On the iPad, you can also sign in to all your media accounts in order to stream movies or listen to music. And Siri also acts like a real concierge, since you can ask her questions about local attractions or nearby bars and restaurants."

This is, of course, an entirely predictable development ... but no less cool because of it.

I keep saying that my experience with the Amazon Echo - asking it to do all sorts of things - has led me to actually be a little frustrated when devices don't have voice recognition capabilities. This is all happening, really fast, and companies that want to be seen as relevant have to figure out what their niche is within this continuum.

It is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: