Monday, August 14, 2017

Hotels of the Future

HOTELS OF THE FUTURE
Welcome to the Hotel of the Future

The hospitality industry has always been about good service, meaning not only efficient service, but also service with a personal touch. Thus pleasant receptionists, door men, concierges and housekeepers are part of the necessary DNA of a hotel. But the hotel industry is evolving in line with the changing needs of modern travellers and advances in digital technology allow the industry to cater to the considerably different ‘desires’ of the modern traveller.

Rising manpower costs, a shortage of people with good hotel skills, and a congenial personality may be one of the reasons for the trend towards hotels making greater use of digital technology, including the use of robots. But another reason for this digitalisation trend is that the younger generation of hotel customers are already very familiar with, as well as wholeheartedly embracing the digital environment, and they want the hotel of their choice to offer a more digital experience.

The hotel of the future may still have a tastefully furnished lobby and rooms, as well as beautiful landscaping and good restaurants. But the extent of digitalisation will make for a very different hotel stay experience. Hotel.com partnered with Dr. James Canton of the Institute of Global Futures for a study on Hotels of the Future [1] [2]. Although many of the predicted trends may be 10 to 20 years away, some have already taken root and are starting to grow. The majority of staff in the Hen-na Hotel in Nagasaki, Japan [3] and the Peng Heng Space Capsule Hotel in Shenzhen [4], China are robots.  Many of the services from the carrying of luggage to room service and laundry are mechanized, automated or done by robots.
Here is a list of some of the digital technologies Dr Carlton envisages for hotels of the future:

1. RoboButlers
Robot receptionists and concierges [5] will not only be able to do more tasks but will also be more human, complete with facial expressions and the ability to tell jokes. Their Artificial Intelligence brains will be capable of understanding and speaking dozens of languages. They’ll be able to do everything from checking in guests to carrying luggage and providing advice on shopping and entertainment in the area.

2. Made-to-order hotels
Made-to-order hotels are not such a far-fetched idea. Recent advances in material science, nanotechnology and the science of self-assembly [6] will make hotels be able to transform from one design to another according to changes in the profile of  customers, or trends in the market. Think of it as something like the animation robot series the “Transformers”. It’s a matter of changing the composition of their molecules stimulating self-assembly; a process already evident in Nature as seen in the growth of animal cells and mineral crystals. Such self-assembling materials will also have a memory that allows them to revert to their previous states.

3. Intelligent hotel buildings
The technology is already here for smart buildings [7] that incorporate thousands of sensors of all types to constantly collect data on the state of the building. This data will not only allow optimisation of lighting, temperature, water and electricity. The building will be capable of repairing itself and repainting itself. Needless to say, such buildings will also be able to record and monitor everyone and every event that takes place within the building. One of the most valuable aspects of such smart buildings is that with their solar panels and recycling of waste energy, they are highly energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

3. 3D printers
Travelers of the future need not worry about forgetting to bring toiletries or not bringing along sufficient suitable clothing. 3D printers [8] will be available for them to print out clothes, toiletries and other personal effects that they require. Just log on to an online shopping mall, and download the items that you would like to print out.

4. Dream machine.
Advances in neural technology, with the ability to stimulate or inhibit selected areas of the brain will make dreaming in your sleep a pleasurable experience [9]. Just connect yourself to a Dream Machine, select a dream you would like, connect to the machine via electrodes, pay for it via a virtual currency and turn it on. In a few minutes, you will fall asleep and start dreaming what you want to dream about.

5. High-speed airport transfers
Tiring airport transfers will be a thing of the past. You will be whisked to and from your hotel by a driverless car that arrives just in time, perhaps even a flying car [10] that lets you escape the nasty traffic snarls on the ground. Or if the Hyperloop [11] venture of Tesla Cars Chairman Elon Musk comes true, you will be able to travel in a low-pressure point-to-point tube at 760 m.p.h.

7. Using our DNA for confirmation of identity
No more credit card signatures, passport numbers, passwords or even facial recognition technology verification of identify. The ultimate proof of identity is your DNA [12]. Your hotel will be able to download from a vast database of human DNA, and match it with a sample painlessly taken from your body at the time of check in or for payment purposes.

8. Meals customized to your genetic makeup
Meals will be custom-designed to provide the best nutrition for your unique genetic makeup [13], with a machine that identifies your nutritional deficiencies in real-time. Meals may not be old-fashioned-delicious any more, perhaps just a drink from a test-tube. But then, perhaps that is all the traveller of the future desires.




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