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TWiTIoT: This Week in The Internet of Things – the IoT-Enabled Hotel, and Beer on Demand!

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How Is Artificial Intelligence Shaping Music?

Greetings, and welcome. This week, as the Northern Hemisphere’s summer solstice arrives, so do new IoT solutions, for the hospitality industry and for thirsty fans of music festivals and sporting events. As always, your thoughts, reactions, and suggestions welcome. Just send a quick email to medortch@dortchonit.com. And for more on the IoT and IIoT, check out “DortchOnIT’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Weekly.” Thanks.

Need Something from Your Hotel While Traveling? Ask Alexa

What Happened: Amazon introduced Alexa for Hospitality, a version of its IoT-enabled digital assistant designed for hotel guests, concierges, and business leaders.

  • As TechRepublic reported, travelers can use Alexa for Hospitality to request more towels or toiletries, schedule housekeeping, “call the front desk, order room service, or find a local business.” Amazon plans to add the ability for users “to link their personal Amazon accounts to the in-room Alexa.” Users so connected could then access their Amazon music or audiobook choices, call personal contacts, or stay in touch with colleagues more easily while traveling.
  • “The hosting hotel could also benefit from such an integration, if it had access to data on how the guests used Alexa. For example, if users are routinely ordering more towels, the hotel could learn from that information and regularly issue more towels to hopefully improve the customer experience.”
  • Hotels can order multiple Amazon Echo devices with their Amazon for Business accounts, and provision and manage multiple devices from a central console. Alexa for Hospitality works with multiple hospitality software solutions, and hoteliers can create custom Alexa skills as well.

What It Means:Hospitality provides multiple opportunities for IoT-enabled benefits for businesses and their customers. Alexa for Hospitality is the latest – and, arguably, highest-profile – example of the growth of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and other IoT-related technologies in this service-centric industry. Marriott has already announced plans to begin deploying Alexa for Hospitality in select hotels. Some hotels had already begun putting Amazon Echo devices into guest rooms, even before the Alexa for Hospitality announcement.

What You Should Do:If you work in hospitality, expect to see more deployments of digital assistants and other IoT devices all around you soon. Also expect to see more and higher-profile attempts by hackers and thieves to gain access to your corporate networks via those devices. (See “TWiTIoT: This Week in The Internet of Things – Every IoT Device A Security Risk?” and (from 2015!) “Is IT Ready for the IoT at Your Enterprise?”) Make sure your IT and cybersecurity people are already keeping an eye on this growing threat, and implementing effective defense in depth. If you make or sell IoT or cybersecurity solutions to hospitality companies, help yourself by helping those clients get ready for what’s coming.

Care for a Cold Beer? New IoT Device Has Got You Covered

What Happened:A global product design firm and a division of a worldwide purveyor of adult beverages have jointly developed a smart, connected beer vending machine.

  • In a news release posted at com, Intelligent Product Solutions (IPS) and ZX Ventures, a division of AB InBev, announced they have jointly developed the BeerBox. IPS has designed IoT-connected, wearable, and other solutions for clients such as Google and Motorola. ZX Ventures develops new products and businesses for AB InBev, “the world’s leading global brewer.”
  • “The BeerBox is the first beer vending machine to dispense opened cans of chilled beer.” Specifically, it delivers opened, chilled, 25-ounce cans of beer, and is intended to supplement and shorten the lines at beer bars at gatherings such as music festivals and sporting events.
  • “The BeerBox has cellular, WiFi, and Ethernet connectivity for payment processing, transaction reporting, and maintenance functions, and GPS to provide machine location.” It features a “cashless payment system that accepts all major credit cards and mobile wallets.”
  • BeerBox prototypes were tested at three music festivals last summer “with great success.” The companies plan to roll out improved versions at “select concert and sports venues nationwide” this summer. A touchscreen interface will grace future versions of the machine.

What It Means:Anything that shortens the wait for beer at a hot, crowded outdoor music or sporting event is likely to be very popular among consumers. More broadly, purveyors of multiple types of goods at special events are likely to seek similar opportunities, independently in partnership with owners of systems such as BeerBox.

 

What You Should Do:If you’re in a business that sells goods at concerts, sporting events, or similar venues, you should be looking at and for ways to leverage IoT and other technologies to extend your reach. If you don’t have sufficient IT resources internally for such exploration, seek one or more partner companies that do. If you provide IT goods and/or services to such businesses, begin exploration of opportunities for them to leverage IoT and other technologies for business growth. And if you attend and buy beer at concerts, games, or other venues, be prepared. Always have at least one major credit card, one major debit card, and one active mobile wallet app with you. Maybe some cash as well, in case the venue’s connectivity fails.

Shameless Self-Promotion (And an Opportunity for You)

On June 28, I have the honor of joining Rob Young, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Astound and former lead IT service management (ITSM) analyst at IDC, for a webcast. We’ll be discussing the impact of AI and advanced automation on IT. I think it will be a lively and provocative 45 minutes.

You can read more about it and register to attend, live or on demand, at https://hubs.ly/H0cz33Q0. And if you’ve got thoughts to share on the subject, let me know, here or via email to me at medortch@dortchonit.com. I look forward to your thoughts — the best of which I’ll share during the event, with attribution if you permit it — and to your joining us for the webinar!

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Michael Dortch

As an IT industry analyst, consultant, journalist, and marketer, Michael Dortch has been translating bits and bytes into dollars and sense for four decades. His areas of expertise include strategic content planning, development, and creation, core content execution, and social media and online community development and outreach. Michael has helped to launch new products, enable sales teams, influence influencers, and grow web site traffic, prospects, leads, and positive perceptions for companies large and small. He also enjoys cooking, eating, traveling, and singing.