The main issue with smart speakers and integrating them into hotel rooms is privacy. Aside from the likelihood that guests will feel uncomfortable sharing their room with an active microphone, there’s also the issue of meeting privacy regulations. The introduction of the EU’s GDPR in May 2018 has made the widespread adoption of these solutions in hotel rooms virtually impossible for the time being.
Under the EU privacy laws, all data must be deleted after the purpose of use unless the user otherwise gives their consent for it to be stored. While the Amazon Echo allows individual voice commands to be deleted manually, the fact that it doesn’t happen automatically straight after use also puts the hotel business in a bit of a grey area with regards to privacy and customer data protection.
Currently, the GDPR regulations state that any information collected in the EU or by businesses that operate within the EU must meet the security standards for the storage of data outlined in the regulations. As the major players in the smart speaker market largely store their data on servers around the world, and also share information between them, they would need to ensure that all of their servers meet the EU regulations – a step that they’re unlikely to take.
However, the whole smart speaker industry is still young and as teething issues are tackled and solutions that work with the data privacy regulations are developed.