From smart mirrors to holodecks, premium hotels are poised to take guests boldly where no guests have gone before.
From air conditioning to cable TV, premiums hotels have a history of using new technology to offer guests new experiences and few technologies are poised to deliver that as well as the Internet of Things (IoT).
The IoT refers to the “interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data,” according to Digital Trends. Homeowners already use it to remotely control cameras, security systems, thermostats, lighting, and appliances, and hotels are incorporating it as quickly as they can to improve the guest experience. Consider some of the following applications, which are either in development or already been deployed.
Smart mirrors are two-way mirrors that are designed to display various information, from the weather and time to news updates and are beginning to appear in hotel rooms. They can act like a human concierge, giving guests the ability to order room service, buy tickets to a show, and find information or directions to restaurants and popular attractions. The devices being developed now also double as TVs when they’re not in use.
Smart tabletops in restaurants
Imagine sitting down at a table in the hotel’s restaurant and being able to order using the table. Smart tables turn an ordinary surface into an interactive experience. Along with ordering food, these devices can display games to keep the kids occupied, provide Internet access, photo sharing, news, and information about local attractions.
Noise masking technology
There is nothing more annoying for hotel guests than rowdy neighbors, construction noise or anything else that disturbs their stay. In fact, the absence of sound can actually make any noise you do hear seem louder. Sound masking is a new technology that “elevates the room’s background sound level in order to mask or cover up noises,” according to Hotel Business. “It follows a particular spectrum, engineered to balance acoustic control and occupant comfort.”
One such device is called Solid Drive. It works by turning a connected surface (table, door, headboard) into a speaker that emits music or white noise to mask sounds coming from outside the room.
Virtual reality salons
Welcome to the holodeck of the USS Enterprise. Look for luxury spas and salons to begin using augmented and virtual reality to transport guests anywhere they want to go during their massage, pedicure or manicure. Why settle for a hot stone massage in a windowless room of a hotel lobby or basement when you could enjoy being surrounded swaying palms on a tropical beach, the gurgling of a mountain stream, or a Parisian cafe? The technology will enable hotels to offer business travelers mini-vacations and leisure travelers vacations within a vacation.
Voice-activated personal assistants
Look for this technology to migrate from the home to upscale hotels in a much bigger way starting this year. “Some of the more obvious applications are controlling the guestroom’s lights, television, drapes, temperature, and even “do not disturb” notifications,” according to Lodging Magazine. “There are already some companies integrating voice across the hotel technology stack in management systems, guest engagement platforms, valet systems, safety systems, IPTV systems, and more.”
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