It was reported yesterday that Amazon Alexa is going to become a butler at Marriott Hotels. Alexa for hospitality would assist in providing services ranging from ordering room service to requesting housekeeping or calling the concierge for dinner recommendations without picking up the phone. Terry Ray, CTO at Imperva commented below.
Terry Ray, CTO at Imperva:
“There is no shortage of concerns about home and digital assistant technology, especially the always on systems, like Alexa. I can see the appeal of in room butler services and room service ordering, being a very frequent, multi-hundred thousand annual miler myself. In short, yes, there may be some ways Alexa could inadvertently share something you would want shared, but it’s probably unlikely and preventable.
First, don’t ask Alexa questions you wouldn’t everyone to know your asking. Remember, this isn’t your Alexa, it’s managed by someone else and they likely have access to what your asking.
Second, if you have concerns about it listening all of the time, unplug it when you arrive and only plug it in when you want something specific.
It wouldn’t surprise me to find out down the road that Marriott could collect statistics from the what is ordered, when it’s ordered etc. from such a system to better market to customers, staff during high ordering times and optimize their offerings to searches and requests from users. I would expect businesses to already track much of this via their manual systems, so the result may be better for the consumer, as long as the consumer remembers, that Alexa remembers, so don’t ask it things you might consider private.”