Alexa and Siri Are Invading Your Hotel Room…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Your next hotel room may come with a new amenity: Alexa or Siri.

Alexa, can you order me some room service? Marriott is currently testing Amazon’s assistant as well as Apple’s Siri to see who works best for its customers.  Amazon has already had success in the hospitality market with Wynn hotels installing 5,000 Echos last December. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Big brands are taking virtual assistants seriously and building apps to improve customer service. Look for Alexa, Siri and others like them in your office in the next few years taking orders from you – and potentially saving you labor costs.

2 – Apple is now likely to reject your app if it has the word “free” in it.

Apple’s iTunes Connect service has been “blocking submissions to the App Store or Mac App Store when app metadata includes pricing information.” (Source: VentureBeat)

Why this is important for your business:

Apple’s App Store dominates the market for mobile apps, so it comes as no surprise that they are wielding more power over app developers. If your app includes the word “free” in its name, you will now receive an error message that says “Please remove any references to your app’s price from your app’s name, including any references to your app being free or discounted.”

3 – Ikea is jumping into the smart home market.

The popular Swedish furniture store has announced that it will have its own smart lighting system called “Trådfri” (“wireless” in Swedish). The standard bulbs are dimmable LED lights that Ikea says will last for 25,000 hours. In addition, Ikea’s line of smart lights includes a motion-controlled dimmer switch and “a gateway device that connects to the Internet via an Ethernet connection and creates a local Trådfri network to connect local bulbs.” (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Smart homes first. Smart offices next. Consider investing in these technologies to minimize utilities. Trust me, energy prices will rise someday!

4 – Domino’s wants to deliver European pizza in a new way – with a robot.

The pizza giant has announced that it is working together with Starship Technologies to have sidewalk robots deliver pizza in Hamburg, Germany. The robots are “a little under two feet tall, weigh about 40 pounds when empty and travel around four miles per hour – walking speed.” (Source: Recode)

Why this is important for your business:

Don Meij, Domino’s Group CEO, said, “With our growth plans over the next five to 10 years, we simply won’t have enough delivery drivers if we do not look to add to our fleet through initiatives such as this.” This is what chains are doing to be competitive and keep costs down. How about you?

5 – You can now make ice cream with food waste.

Salt & Straw, an ice cream institution based in Portland and with locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, has announced that it will be crafting delicious ice cream with ingredients from unusual sources: “rescued food” like bruised apples from a local distillery and overripe strawberries from a nearby farm. Tyler Malek, co-founder of Salt & Straw, said that the company wants to “prove that this food can be used, and tell our customers that it’s possible to make something incredible and fun out of something that was going to be wasted.” Salt & Straw’s four Portland ice cream shops will be featuring an estimated 2,000 pounds of “rescued food” in the month of June. (Source: Fast Company)

Why this is important for your business:

This kind of marketing attracts the eco-conscious crowd. Does it taste good? Who cares. It’s brilliant.

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