Len Klie

Alexa Is Really Getting Around

Amazon’s Alexa voice service is really getting around, and not in the bad way.

Through a deal announced earlier this week, Wynn Las Vegas will add Amazon Echo, Amazon’s hands-free voice-controlled speaker, to all 4,748 of its hotel rooms, enabling guests to control all of the smart home features in their rooms with a series of voice commands via Alexa, the brains behind Echo and similar Amazon devices.

The introduction of this technology into every guest room at the Wynn will begin this month with installation in suites. Alexa will be fully operational in all guest rooms by summer 2017, and will initially control guest room lights, room temperature, drapes, and the television.  As the project evolves, future features, such as personal assistant functions, will be introduced.

“Millions of people already enjoy interacting with Alexa at home via their Echo devices, and now they will be able to experience the same convenience while traveling,” said Steve Rabuchin, vice president of Amazon Alexa, in a statement. “Wynn Las Vegas is known for its comfort and luxury, and we are excited to work with the resort to enhance its guest experience with Alexa.”

“As we have moved through the years, technology has always played an important part in our resorts,” said Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, in a statement. “The thing that Amazon has done with Alexa is quite perfect. If I have ever seen anything in my 49 years of developing resorts that has made our job of delivering a perfect experience to our guests easier and help us get to another level, it is Alexa. The ability to talk to your room is effortlessly convenient.”

But guests at the Wynn are not the only ones who will get that experience. Following another deal announced this week, Brookfield Residential will add Amazon Alexa’s voice-enabled home automation to its new smart homes in the Avendale community in northern Virginia, just outside of the nation’s capital. The Brookfield Residential Smart Home is the first to fully integrate voice-enabled home automation based on theAlexa platform.

With just their voices, residents will be able to invoke Alexa to check security cameras, lock and unlock doors, turn lights on and off, raise and lower blinds, water the lawn, preheat the oven, raise or lower thermostat settings, play music, and more. Brookfield has also integrated a series of custom skills, triggering a variety of actions with a single command.

Alexa even showed up at Pizza Hut, following a collaboration to bring flexible ordering to customers using a new voice skill via Alexa. Pizza Hut is expanding its ordering capabilities to include Alexa Voice Service on Echo, Tap, Echo Dot, Fire TV, and Fire tablets.

“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Pizza Hut to give customers hands-free, convenient ordering of pizza,” said Rob Pulciani, Director, Amazon Alexa. “Ordering from Pizza Hut pizza by just using your voice from inside the comfort of your home is a wonderful experience.”

And another Alexa skill introduced this week lets restaurant-goers find real-time information about dining establishments near them.

DineTime, a restaurant network, now has a skill for Amazon Alexa voice service, that provides details on restaurant wait times, locations, distance and more.  DineTime is working to unleash more interactions with the Alexa voice skill, including the ability to add their names to wait lists and make reservations.

“Dining decisions are quick and easy for on-the-go Alexa users now. Diners have the added benefit of using voice commands from the comfort of their couch, kitchen or bedroom,” said Lee Leet, founder and CEO of QSR Automations, in a statement. “The DineTime Alexa skill is the first of its kind, and the best is yet to come. We are excited to soon offer more options and enhanced features to our customers.”

Since the introduction of Amazon Alexa, developers have created more than 6,000 skills for it.