David Esseryk – Vice President Guest Technology & Innovation – AccorHotels
We’re seeing regular items going online and becoming “smart,” from cars to refrigerators to keys. Even our bodies are now being fitted or embedded with smart watches, sensors and devices that allow biological data to be collected and transmitted.
But is 2016 finally the year that hotel technology meets the Internet of Things?
In 2013, approximately one device was connected to the Internet per person on earth. By 2020, with the world’s population estimated to reach 8 billion, the expectation is that this will increase to around 9 devices connected to the internet per person. As of now, the number of “things” connecting to the internet every second is 80, but by 2020 this could increase to more than 250 things connecting each second. Major technology companies, including Apple, Samsung and Google, have all taken strides to create products that leverage the best of what IoT has to offer.
IS 2016 FINALLY THE YEAR THAT HOTEL TECHNOLOGY MEETS THE INTERNET OF THINGS?
With such substantial growth envisioned for the future of IoT, hoteliers have begun to take hold of various elements of it by embracing a number of innovations, particularly in the arena of mobile technology, such as hotel apps. The recent hotel technology trend of allowing guests the opportunity to check in and unlock guest rooms via mobile devices is one such example. Other notable hospitality technology upgrades include room control systems that allow guests to perform automated tasks such as adjusting lighting and temperature in a hotel room using a smartphone, in-room tablet or panel.
There are still potential impediments to the widespread growth of the Internet of Things. For instance, the lack of a universal coding language for communication between devices from different companies or on different operating systems is currently limiting the opportunity for complete interconnectivity.
But while there are still limitations yet to overcome, it can be expected to see guests bringing more connected devices or “things” to hotels, as well as more aspects of hotel rooms becoming connected or automated. This year will likely bring continued innovation in how the hospitality industry is able to use connected hotel technology and guest devices to improve its ability to increase guest engagement and operational efficiency