Published on : Thursday, April 19, 2018
Volara, the creator of a hotel concierge service powered by AWS’ Alexa for Business has already initiated video conference calls and more traditional phone calls
A hotel guest can now say “Alexa, call the concierge” or make calls to mobile or landlines phone numbers in the United States, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat. A trial of phone calls with Alexa for Business is currently taking place at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hotel in Arizona.
Joining names like Salesforce, Vonage, and Zoom, Volara is one of roughly 20 initial Alexa for Business software or service providers Amazon CTO Werner Vogels announced at AWS Re:Invent last fall, and it’s the only one dedicated to services for the hospitality sector.
Volara works as a virtual concierge and hotel assistant. It is able to answer questions and requests from hotel guests that in the past which was often involved in picking up a hotel phone. The Alexa-enabled devices at large hotel chains started with Wynn Hotels in 2016. The world’s largest hotel chains were considering them over the past year. The calls with Echo speakers powered by Alexa for Business could greatly reduce the need for phones in hotel rooms.
In addition to the need for privacy that sometimes makes a phone handset preferable to a speaker, phones are likely to remain in hotel rooms for some time since assistants like Alexa are not yet able to make emergency 911 phone calls.
The calls with Alexa-enabled devices were first introduced with the debut of Alexa for Business in November 2017.
Specifically, Alexa for Business was made for conference rooms and desks in the workplace. But it is also a good fit for hotels because it gives management to control and needed to deploy smart speakers to many hotel guests.