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Amazon’s Alexa may become your new travel buddy this summer. The smart speaker is now available in select hotel rooms, offering an “Alexa for Hospitality” program that allows guests to order room service, make reservations or learn more about the area.
Marriott Hotels was announced as the first adopter of the new platform, launching the service in some of its Marriott, Westin, St. Regis, Aloft and Autograph Collection hotels this summer.
Guests can choose whether they would like to share a room with Alexa or disable the technology by tapping the “mute” button. Guests can also request the Echo speaker to be taken out of the room. Amazon said hotels cannot access voice recordings, and no personal information needs to be shared with the Echo in order to use it.
From Alexa randomly laughing, to sending private conversations to random contacts, Amazon’s Echo program has come under scrutiny the past few months. The security questions have pushed Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to write an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demanding more information on the security of the Alexa platform.
"We don't fully understand the privacy risks we're taking," the senators wrote. "Amazon owes it to the American people to be clearer about what's happening with this technology."
“This is just another way for Alexa to have access to you from your home away from home,” said digital lifestyle expert Carley Knobloch. “This is the new world order and these devices are going to follow us wherever we go now if we're on vacation or maybe at the office, or certainly at home.”