It’s great to see brands like Aloft taking a step into building new interactions with their guest rooms. This isn’t their first foray into voice interaction or new technology. A few months ago, they were testing out a room service robot that was voice activated.
Aloft’s depiction of voice interaction is a great first step. By having Siri interact with a pre-built app on an iPad, they by-pass the necessity to create a trigger word, integrate ASR, or text to speech. They just needed to use SiriKit to connect their custom apps with invocations.
Eventually, they’ll likely see that there’s a limit to triggering the device at a distance, with noise in the background, or even untethered from power. They might then opt for a standalone device that can handle voice commands.
It’s interesting that we haven’t seen wide spread use of Siri on tablets for home automation similar to the room control being depicted in the video. This is because to get it to work, you really need to have a customized iPad experience and shelling out several hundred dollars for one iPad just for this purpose isn’t really practical for most consumers.
I hope that other hotels take note of Aloft’s efforts. In the next five years, voice will be a normal part of the home and travellers will expect the same from their hotel rooms.