Is this room smarter than me?

The home automation industry has shown a particular vitality in recent years, although only recently the condition of almost constant connection has ended up transforming the living space into a new dimension where real and virtual coexist seamlessly, thus making scenarios once worthy of the best science fiction absolutely topical and affordable for many - if not all. The effective possibility of interconnections between household appliances and remote control systems has led the giants of the sector to invest huge amounts of capital in the Internet of Things and in general in the applications of technologies that make it easier and often more sustainable to manage their homes or workplaces. And not only thanks to lighting, temperature control and security systems, but also increasingly through computer and communication networks integrated into a single system, which simplifies and optimizes control.

Internet of Things for hotel travellers

Bringing the experience of home automation into the world of the hotel industry, and doing it well, presents a number of challenges related to cost, infrastructure and security. Currently, there are definitely a minimum percentage of structures that can provide their customers with technologies that go beyond digital keys, thermostats activated by sensors and a Wi-Fi network often not even so fast, but you can even count on the fingers of a hand companies who are trying to make a real conversion to a single control system through Internet of Things platforms.

Bringing the experience of home automation into the world of the hotel industry, and doing it well, presents a number of challenges related to cost, infrastructure and security. Currently, there are definitely a minimum percentage of structures that can provide their customers with technologies that go beyond digital keys, thermostats activated by sensors and a Wi-Fi network often not even so fast, but you can even count on the fingers of a hand companies who are trying to make a real conversion to a single control system through Internet of Things platforms.

The exceptions

Public Hotel

Among the exceptions, we can count the case of the Public Hotel in New York, which through its website allows you to check in independently and place orders to the room service. The hotel, commissioned by legendary hotel magnate Ian Schrager from Swiss studio Herzog & de Meuron, tries to give a new definition to the concept of luxury starting from the importance of the value of experience: "We have not put an iPad in every room for the sake of it, under the pretext of being a "technological hotel", as many other chains have done," said Schrager, "Every technological interaction has been considered for its simplicity, its efficiency and its effectiveness. And with pride he then spoke about the fastest WiFi in town, free for everyone in every corner of the hotel, the mobile phone service that works everywhere, the mobile key, Apple TV in every room and the ability to order or communicate in real time through a specially designed chat bot.

The Accor chain, on the other hand, has begun to use the MyWebValet platform in its Paris facilities, which allows you to contact the front desk or room service via a tablet: alongside your app, through which you can obtain travel advice and accumulate loyalty programme points, the company plans to equip its hotels, approximately by 2030, with rooms where no device is needed, thanks to the presence of interactive surfaces inside each one.

A virtual concierge

Butlr is a Sicilian start-up that boasts among its customers and partners Marriott, Sheraton Catania and Hilton Giardini Naxos, and that, in addition to online check-in and check-out, offers the possibility to have home deliveries from the most famous restaurants in the city, to receive information about the place of vacation or the services offered by the hotel, and to shop for local products without moving from your own room.

It seems, therefore, that the era in which hotel luxury was embodied by the formality of uniformed staff ready to welcome incoming guests, offer services as personalized as possible or ensure the security of a quick and discreet check-out has come to an end: well before we think, we can turn to our smartphone to meet substantially any need.

Connected rooms

In this sense, Hilton is testing a platform designed from the ground up, with the highly explanatory name of Connected Room, designed to make available to everyone what Christopher J. Nassetta, CEO of the company, describes as "the first truly mobile-centric hotel room": via the phone, the ability to control lighting, heating, ventilation, entertainment options will soon be effective.

And, in addition, opt for a loyalty program and a targeted customization of many of the services offered by informing in real time the staff of each specific need. "Imagine a world in which the room knows you and you know your room," said Nassetta, "Imagine a world in which you enter and the TV tells you, "How is it, John? We’ve enjoyed of seeing you", everything you like or need has already been preloaded and the only thing you need for all this is in the palm of your hand". Still without the voice activation function, Connected Room has been designed to implement its functions over time thanks to the collaboration with renowned brands in the industry.

Echo x Alexa

Wynn Resorts Ltd. was the first hotel company to install Amazon Echo devices, starting with the suites of its flagship property, the Wynn in Las Vegas, to equip the hotel's more than 4,000 rooms. Alexa, this is the name of the virtual assistant inside Echo, allows you to control with your own voice the lighting system, temperature control and entertainment streaming, thanks to a simple Internet connection and data collected by Amazon. There have been those who have raised doubts about privacy, since Alexa is activated by microphones that respond to certain keywords and is equipped with a history function that makes accessible to customers and certainly also to a part of the hotel staff the commands given to the device, but most agree that the ability to set an alarm, choose a song or open the curtains ordering it directly to your room is well worth the risk.
A battle, the one on the primacy of digital assistants, that Amazon and Apple are playing, now, even on the ground of hotel rooms. It is here that Alexa and Siri are called to compete for the supremacy of the platform of choice among travelers. In this regard, Marriott International Inc., the world's largest hotel company, is testing the devices of the two technology giants in its Aloft hotel in Boston, but is also studying its own personal IoT room, interactive, intuitive and hyper-technological. On the other hand, if the future of hotel automation seems to be voice activation, the challenge - exponentially more expensive when it comes to chains of the caliber of Marriott - lies in the need to manage the large amount of different devices, with their operating systems and functionality, trying to replicate automatically the conditions favored by guests in their daily lives and in their home environment, seamlessly.
It remains to be seen whether it is appropriate to focus on personalized interaction, which will allow guests who are familiar with information technology in general to access their accounts, or whether it is more practical to use a standard set of skills useful for a stay in a hotel, such as the possibility of receiving information about the area, checking weather forecasts or calling a driver, via Uber.

/related post

A stylish sailing holiday

For those seeking a period of total relaxation, a sailing holiday is the ideal choice. But what esse...

The site uses its own technical cookies, anonymous third party analytic cookies and third-party cookies that could be used in profiling: in accessing any element/area of the site outside of this banner, you consent to receiving cookies. If you want to know more or refuse consent to cookies, click here. OK