Gazing into the crystal ball – Part 1: INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)

Where will we be in five years’ time ?
Internet of Things (IoT)

Floor BleekerFloor Bleeker – Chief Information Officer, Mövenpick Group

“Beacons will be common-place and will be used for different purposes like asset tracking, security, guest recognition, optimisation of space, energy management and guest loyalty. Today, adoption is slow because of the high cost per beacon and the need to have many different apps to enable different functionality. Both of these factors will change in the future, making it cheap to acquire and easy to implement and use. We are currently working on our global Mövenpick recognition program and we will make sure that it’s future-proof and can be used with beacons when we decide to implement them.”

Chris ChanChristopher Chan – General Manager, Research & Technology, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, The Peninsula Hotels

“IoT is going to be everywhere – on smaller devices – such as wearable devices that can be used by staff without having to carry a laptop or tablet, enabling us to know where people are. It will also be increasingly important in security, and in the guest room itself. Here we will be able to monitor such things as the air quality, or automating some of our robotics – for cleaning carpets and windows. Sensors and beacons will also be used in such a way that as a guest approaches areas such as the spa, boutiques, bar or restaurants, they receive relevant location-sensitive messages with promotions for these places.”

Hansen ScottC. Scott Hansen – Director, Guest Technology, Marriott International

“With the cost of retrofitting hotels with some capability of communicating with some larger management entity, I don’t see significant impact in just the next 5 years. Remember – we have about 6,000 hotels globally today. I do think conceptually it makes a lot of sense and real economic benefit can be gained by understanding if a water leak triggers a sensor or temperatures in a hotel can be adjusted based on predicted weather data. I do know that the challenges will come with ensuring full network coverage in a hotel (front and back) as well as vigilance of the massive amounts of data that have the potential to be produced. But yes, automation creates economic efficiencies that we will not be able to ignore.”

Christian LundénChristian Lundén – Director of Future Business, Nordic Choice Hotels

“The new hotel rooms we build are totally connected and know who you are and what you like. Finally, we have really gotten the hang of personalisation, and based on this knowledge, the room adjusts itself to your preferences.

You can control most things with just your voice. Just tell the digital room assistant when you want to have a cab, turn off the lamps or just want a fresh cup of coffee right from your bed. Thanks to the broader rollout of 5G we will start to test out how things around us talk to each other in a totally new way. This gives hotels new possibilities and services that we couldn’t do just five years ago.”

Monika NergerMonika Nerger – Global Chief Information Officer, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

“Our industry has already adapted to smart door locks and thermostats which are integrated with guest preferences, but this is just the beginning of IoT. We are on the cusp of fully understanding the potential of voice communication in the guest room. While there are a few early adopters of Amazon’s Alexa, I believe that this technology will morph into avatars, with a human ‘face’ developed for Siri, Alexa, Cortana and other voice technologies, which will control connected devices in the hotel room and beyond. The guest room avatar will equip guests with the means to control and enjoy their hotel experience in ways that go beyond voice commands to request extra towels or order room service.”

Josh WeissJosh Weiss – VP – Brand & Guest Technology, Hilton Worldwide

“A growing number of devices will of course become compatible with common IoT standards. In energy management, it’s all about helping our hotels use data to be as efficient as they possibly can, while also delivering a great guest experience. It’s great if you turn off the lights and HVAC when the guests are not there, but if it’s boiling hot when they get back, then you haven’t really delighted them, even if you have saved energy. I can see a world in a few years where IoT devices work very smartly together and centrally to help hotels optimize how they power down rooms and HVAC systems, detect issues when they arise and solve them before they spur a guest complaint.”