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I Robot

Hospitality Technology - The Future

In 2016, Hilton introduced “Connie” the robot concierge to the world. Connie cheerfully chatted to guests about local tourist attractions, dining recommendations and hotel features, providing a pleasant, if somewhat limited, guest experience.

2021’s robot is much more advanced; able to learn and replicate human emotions, recognise faces and perform a multitude of increasingly complicated tasks. Indeed, such is the complexity of today’s robot that the Hideo Sadawa in Japan and the Penheng Space Capsules in China are staffed largely by robots. Incredibly, every staff member at the Henn-na hotel in Nagasaki Japan….is a robot!

But how relevant is all this to our world of TV technology? 

At this point, it’s hard to say.  The Internet of Things connects objects and compliances, communicates, interacts and creates “smart” devices that can often be semi or even fully autonomous. In view of this, hotel TV’s future seems to be in the hands of interoperability.

Premium TV systems have already commenced this journey, enabling two-way communication between the in-room TV and a hotel’s internal systems. Will the next chapter see it commonplace for TVs to, for example, adjust the room temperature, close curtains and operate the lights?

 Over-Innovation

As exciting as the future may be, might it be the case that we’re in danger of over-innovation?  Are we veering towards technology for technology’s sake?

How about that super-duper lighting system that can bathe every nook and cranny of your hotel room in several hues of light, but is impossible to turn on or off without a series of problem-solving exercises?!  Or more pertinently – we’ve all experienced the hotel TV that seems to fulfil a lot of functions, but is nigh on impossible to find the TV channels.

Much has been made of the hotel industry’s tendency to lag behind the TV technology we’re used to at home, maybe the way forward is to concentrate on getting the basics right (quick and easy casting, intuitive menus, responsive channel changes etc) before we start thinking about robots and interoperability?

Airwave’s ethos has always been to focus on the optimum user experience, not just the most innovative solution available. Naturally, a balance needs to be found but as long as a hotel, as much as possible, looks to provide a top-drawer user experience, we think that’s the way forward.

Are you Being Served?

A wider reaching consequence of technology’s rapid evolution is the notion that technology is depersonalising the guest experience.

Is too much technology taking the “hospitality” out of hospitality?!  

An Oracle Hospitality report, “Creating the Coveted Hotel Guest Experience” suggests that ‘customer service and helpfulness of staff” is the third most important element of a hotel experience (behind cleanliness of rooms and a hotel’s location).

Whilst we’re not sure that hotels staffed by robots is necessarily the way forward, our stance is that far from depersonalising the hotel experience, technology can provide the means for hotels to better serve their guests.

Otrum Enterprise’s room management functionality allows a TV to communicate a room’s status to reception, allowing guests to check in early (or check out late) if required; other features include room service, the booking of hotel amenities or even the ordering of an extra pillow – all available via the TV.

Of course, such features do lessen the requirement for face-to-face interaction, but in doing so, they free up the time and resource of staff to better focus on quality interaction and ultimately, the provision of a better service.

And actually, shouldn’t the need to interact on a face-to-face level be the guest’s choice? Sometimes after a long, stressful day, might a guest appreciate a bit of solitude?

It seems there's no right or wrong answer; one thing's for sure however: technology is here, and it's here to stay. All Airwave can do is continue to evolve in line with the technical world's march forward....and maybe employ a couple of robots to help write some more blogs?

Roblogs? watch this space...