SoundHound Adds Houndify AI to Hotels
SoundHound is expanding its Houndify voice AI to the hospitality industry. The 15-year-old voice technology company is partnering with Samsung subsidiary Harman Professional Solutions to enable hotel guests to control their environment by voice.
SoundHound’s Houndify voice AI platform is being integrated into JBL Professional prototype speaker systems in several hotels globally as part of an initial pilot program. Essentially, hotel guests with Houndify-integrated JBL speakers can ask for information about their hotel such as restaurant hours and guest services with voice commands. They’ll also be able to adjust settings like room lighting, as well as connect the speakers by Bluetooth to their own devices to play music.
The idea of a smart hotel room makes sense in terms of making the hotel more appealing to guests increasingly used to voice assistants at home and on mobile devices. It also helps hotels by lowering the time and resources needed for customer service interaction by staff. By integrating the platform into Harman’s Hospitality Cloud AI, the system can be customized to specific locations and hotels. It can even offer recommendations for local food and entertainment. After the pilot program, the service will roll out more broadly starting in 2020.
Harman isn’t the first company to start bringing voice assistants into hotels. Marriott ran a pilot program with Alexa last year that was successful enough for an ongoing expansion to new hotels. And InterContinental Hotels Group partnered with Baidu to bring AI-powered smart displays to suites in several hotels in China.
SoundHound is still probably best known to consumers for its eponymous app that tells users what song is playing. But, it’s the rapid expansion of its Houndify voice AI platform that has been fueling the company’s growth in the last few years.
Most recently, SoundHound revealed that Houndify is part of the platform for Anki’s Vector robot. That news came just a month after Pandora announced that Houndify is the platform powering its voice mode, interacting with people using the streaming app. And last year, Houndify became part of a whole slew of automobile in-car voice experiences, including Peugot, Mercedes, and Honda.
Applying SoundHound’s technology to hospitality fits with the company’s overall enterprise strategy. Acting as the technology underneath a customized white-label application adds a wide scope to the company’s potential reach, without needing to overcome the more direct consumer services that Amazon, Apple, Google, and other big players are pushing. And it appeals to enterprise clients because Houndify lets them adjust the experience and maintain control of the data in a way the bigger names don’t. And with $215 million in funding as of a year ago, SoundHound has plenty of runway to grow into even more industries.