Uniguest’s M&A Flurry Continuing; Adds Volara’s Interactive Voice Platform To Solution Set
November 3, 2021 by Dave Haynes
Already managing more than 20,000 voice assistant solutions at over 400 locations, says the announcement, Volara now launches Uniguest’s voice technology division, positioning the company to bring voice-based contactless engagement technology solutions to hospitality, senior living communities, stadiums, banks, and other industries.
Volara’s highly secure and deeply integrated platform is used by property managers, creative agencies, and technology integrators to enable customers to request items and services such as extra towels, turndown services, or in-room dining, enjoy entertainment, hear recommendations for nearby attractions, and access many other unique on brand voice-based experiences.
Often utilized via the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, Volara’s solutions are hardware and platform agnostic, making it a popular choice for third-party integrators. Volara’s software and infrastructure ensure the protection of guest privacy and the security of its clients’ data. Additionally, Volara is an authorized solution provider for Google Assistant’s Interpreter mode, enabling 29-language translation across commercial locations including airports, stadiums, retail outlets, banks, and hotels.
“We are very excited to add Volara to the Uniguest suite of solutions, especially since it fits so well across the key industries our brands operate in,” Uniguest CEO Jeff Hiscox says. “Voice creates contactless experiences, and we see it has a big part in future technology, and by offering a secure and functional software like Volara’s, we expect to see high adoption rates from current and new customers alike.”
Volara founder and CEO Dave Berger will stay on with Uniguest, running the Voice division. “In early 2016, we envisioned voice-first technologies managing customer relationships across many commercial properties. With that aim we focused on three requirements: robust customer privacy protections, impenetrable security of client data, and seamless integrations into the technology ecosystem of each vertical where our solutions were engaged. Today, as the leading voice assistant solution for hotels and senior living communities, I’m excited to accelerate our growth in both our existing and new verticals as part of Uniguest.”
This is the fourth acquisition in 2021 for Uniguest. The company acquired JANUS Displays, a hospitality-focused digital signage company in February of this year, Sagely, a senior living software technology provider in May, and UCView, an IPTV and digital signage provider in September. The company had earlier acquired the UK software firms Onelan and Tripleplay, as well as a senior living interactive tech firm called Touchtown, based in Pittsburgh.
Here’s a demo video that shows how Volara works with voice assistant tech like Google’s. I can confirm it works because I have a Google voice thingie on desk and it was fielding and and answering the questions posed and answered in the video, except it would take me 17 hours to drive to Dulles airport instead of 34 minutes!
This seems a smart move for Uniguest, given its chosen verticals of hotels and hotel-like senior living facilities. I don’t see anywhere near the opportunity for voice tech in retail or public spaces. In a quiet room, voice commands can work, and for seniors with limited mobility and perhaps limited ability to learn tech like touchscreens, voice could be very effective.
Volara appears to be a pretty small shop (Linkedin suggests 10-15 staffers) but the company has a PILE of partners and customers – door-openers for Uniguest sales to introduce more features into hotels and facilities, from touchscreens and IPTV to video walls.