If you've turned on a TV in the last few weeks, you likely already know that Alexa, the voice and artificial intelligence behind the Amazon Echo, is capable of ordering roses for Tina, calling an Uber for awkward mascots and looking in Wikipedia for a description of poison oak when a small child is holding some right in front of you.
In fact, the ads have proven so effective that the Amazon Echo, which retails for about $180, is sold out online and only available in — gasp! — brick-and-mortar stores.
Soon Amazon's technology will also turn some Las Vegas hotel rooms into voice-activated abodes where controlling your environment is as simple as saying, "Alexa, set the room temperature to a balmy 73 degrees."
Wynn Las Vegas recently announced that it would be installing the Amazon Echo into all 4,748 rooms and suites of its twin hotel towers on the Strip, beginning this month with the suites. The set up of the devices throughout the resort is expected to be finished by the summer.
While the Echo's full range of features won't initially be active, the speakers, which usually respond to a prompt of "Alexa," will enable guests to control the lights, temperature, window shades and televisions in each room simply by voice commands. According to a news release, the resort is the first in the world to utilize the smart-home devices in a hotel.
However, the Wynn isn't the only property on the Strip aiming for a better hotel product via technology. Caesars Entertainment unveiled airport-style check-in kiosks this year, and the Aria partnered with Crave Interactive to offer proprietary in-room tablets that not only open blinds and sound wake-up alarms, but put the entire resort at visitors' fingertips. With a few quick taps, guests can book fitness classes and spa treatments, buy show tickets, make restaurant reservations and order room service or takeout.
As the Wynn's implementation of Alexa moves forward, the resort plans to enable Amazon Echo's personal-assistant functions, as well, enabling guests to potentially play their own music, update their calendars or hail an Uber through the device. (Should some poison oak appear in the desert, they can ask Wikipedia about it, too.)
However, even without that activation, Wynn Resorts Limited CEO Steve Wynn is excited about the potential of a voice-controlled hotel room where you'll never have to search for a light switch or close your own drapes.
"I'm here! Open the curtains. Lower the temperature. Turn on the news," Wynn commanded Alexa in the short video about installing the Echo. The ability to talk to your room, he added, is "seamlessly delicious" and "effortlessly convenient."
In Alexa's initial installation, the Wynn is using the cutting-edge technology for a surprisingly old-school purpose: "She becomes our butler, at the service of each of our guests," Wynn said.