Seattle-Tacoma Airport Releases Alexa and Google Assistant Voice Apps
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has debuted voice apps for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The new AskSEA skill offers up-to-date information and facts about the airport and its services, part of a growing trend for venues to provide access to information via voice assistants.
AskSEA is activated on both Alexa and Google Assistant devices by requesting the voice assistant launch SEA Airport. The user can ask about anything related to the airport and its services, and the voice assistant will pull from the airport’s database to share the facts. Since the soft launch of the service, the most common questions have been about how to find lost items, security wait times, accessibility services, play areas for kids, and available shopping and restaurants.
“In your smart home, you’re probably used to asking your voice assistant about the weather in your travel destination or the traffic on the way to the airport. With the new AskSEA service, you can now ask your Google or Amazon Alexa home devices questions about Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA),” The airport explained in its announcement. “AskSEA content has expanded so that we have your questions covered. Recently, answers for SEA Spot Saver and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) services were added. In the near future, programs that were paused due to COVID-19 will return to SEA Airport! And a few new programs like food delivery to your gate are coming up.”
The value of voice AI within transportation has accelerated, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, Moscow Domodedovo Airport launched its own voice assistant to handle customer service last year. The AI-powered voice is connected through the airport’s existing helpline and quickly took over more than a third of all incoming calls. On the other hand, while IBM’s Watson AI-powered the humanoid robot Pepper at a Munich airport during a pilot program in 2018, Pepper production has since been paused. And while Sea-Tac airport is sticking to a Q&A format for its voice apps, it’s interactive customer service AI that is bringing in major investment dollars. Fundings for conversational AI and services for call centers are a regular occurrence now. Stories like the $78.15 million raised by Yellow, the $14 million for higher-ed chatbot platform AdmitHub, Rasa’s $26 million round, and the $100 million raised by Gupshup are just a few of the bigger numbers. And the trend has fueled other acquisitions as well, like Zoom’s purchase of digital contact center Five9, a year after Five9 bought virtual agent platform Inference Solutions.