Robot room service is coming to US hotels

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The next time you call room service for extra towels, your order may be delivered by a robot. It might not be able to change your sheets, but Savioke's Relay hospitality robot can bring everything from toothpaste to Starbucks, and it uses Wi-Fi and 3D cameras to navigate. The robot is already being used by some hotels in the US, and with recent funding of $15 million, autonomous butlers could soon become a lot more popular. The next time you call room service for a new tube of toothpaste, your order may be delivered by a robot. It might not be able to change your sheets, but Savioke's Relay hospitality robot can bring everything from clean towels to Starbucks, and it uses Wi-Fi and 3D cameras to navigate Each of the Relay robots stands roughly three feet tall.


CES for Marketers: Alexa Wows, Virtual Reality Underwhelms

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Over the past few years the CES trade show has become a familiar post-holidays pilgrimage for many of the country's biggest marketers. They see the event as a way to get a sneak peek at the latest tech gadgets and technologies that can help them engage with their customers. This year marketing executives from companies such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Campbell Soup and PepsiCo Inc. made their way to Las Vegas for the gathering. The convention was jam-packed with everything from self-driving cars to robots that play chess to Procter & Gamble's air-freshener spray that can connect with Alphabet Inc.'s Nest home to automatically release pleasant scents in the home. But there was one category that seemed to especially win over marketers: virtual assistants.


Tech Tracker: Domino's new rewards perk uses AI to log points from rivals

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Editor's Note: Tech Tracker looks at different technologies that are disrupting the industry and changing the way restaurants operate and interact with customers. Through a partnership with online reservation platform Resy, several critically acclaimed and buzzworthy restaurants across the country are hosting "Off Menu Week" throughout the year starting in late February. Off Menu Week was designed as an alternative to traditional restaurant weeks, which occur in various cities throughout the year. Off Menu Week, by contrast, celebrates experimentation and risk. "As diners, we crave connection to the creative people behind our favorite restaurants. We thought, let's throw out the dated premise of restaurant week and bring to life a program that's fundamentally about that connection and creativity," Resy co-founder and CEO Ben Leventhal said in a statement.


Counter: Kismet and Cabernet

Los Angeles Times

If you observe Lent, which began this past week, this mightn't be the best time to read stories about excellent California wine or new restaurants with elaborate menus. On the other hand, you'll need to live vicariously -- and plan for all the food and drink you'll be able to enjoy again soon. So we have a story about the lovely Cabernets of the Alexander Valley and a new restaurant featuring Middle Eastern-ish cuisine. Of course, if you're not the sort of person who gives up anything, that's all the more reason to head to Kismet, the subject of Jonathan Gold's latest review. Although, really, who gives up vegetable-intensive small plates or plates of crispy rice anyway?


6 ways in which big data is taking a bite out of the food industry

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Evolutionarily speaking, we're programmed to want those sweet, sweet calories. When done right, food is almost as good as that other thing we're evolutionarily programmed to want. Big data, the science of compiling unwieldy bulk information and turning it into bite-sized chunks of manageable information, has revealed some extraordinary knowledge across every industry. It's done everything from spotting market trends and detecting fraud to searching for lost aircraft. And when it comes to the food and agricultural industry, that's the just the tip of the iceberg lettuce.