THE TRANSLATION OF CONSUMER “WANTS” INTO HOSPITALITY “HAVES”

How Samsung is set to transmute the latest Consumer Electronics into the professional sphere

With a swathe of innovations announced by Samsung at CES Las Vegas, we asked Nicolas Mercier, Practice Lead, Hospitality & Travel at Samsung Electronics just how this translates to the hospitality world.

Today, in hospitality, you look at the potential of automation in the future, through robotics, and hospitality service is one of the highest potential verticals in terms of automation, with over 60% of tasks being able to be automated in one way or the other – either through robotics or through voice services and so on. So the hospitality industry will be piggy-backing on what’s being done in the consumer sector, with some of these solutions being industrialised in the years to come.

How important is a consumer show like CES for the hospitality sector?

These shows are increasingly important, as more and more professionals from hotels, casinos and cruise companies, are looking for potential future technologies to be adapted to their businesses.

What were the main Samsung technologies of interest for the sector at this show?

Artificial Intelligence is already present in some of the products and solutions we are currently working on. Some major announcements will be made during the Hitec show this year. I can’t comment too much at this stage, but imagine traditional hotel platforms, which were very much driven only by data input and automated output to targeted screens benefitting from some kind of intelligence to automate and target in a better way based on customer demographics. Another form of AI making its way into the hotel is the voice assistant. While you haven’t seen Samsung in this space yet, later this year we will be coming up with some interesting solutions.

What about robotics?

Hoteliers are definitely looking at robotics. There have been a few initiatives already. One of the main barriers to adoption has been investment, so it’s going to take some time before robots become mainstream, but it’s definitely going to happen.

New generation Samsung display technologies were unveiled at CES. How will these roll-out into the hospitality sector?

The high-end hotels are very keen to bring new, spectacular screens to their rooms and public areas. We are working on this, and again, Hitec will be the launch-pad for our new generation products. I can say that QLED is coming into this space this year during Hitec.

WE ARE SEEING HOTELIERS AND CASINOS VERY KEEN TO HAVE AN LED WALL IN THEIR LARGER SUITES

MicroLED created a splash in Vegas. How is this panning out to hotels?

It’s a fantastic product. We have had inquiries from some of the top hospitality companies. MicroLED is still a very new technology and it comes with a high price tag. We are seeing hoteliers and casinos very keen to have an LED wall in their larger suites. We are rolling-out fine pitch (1.2mm) – 130-inch LED displays to some selected properties, and MicroLED will become very interesting in the next couple of years.

From the sound of things, Samsung is really “pushing” into the AI sphere…

Very much so. Samsung has opened specialised R&D centres around the world to strengthen our AI capabilities and explore the potential of user-centric AI. By securing global AI experts, Samsung Research plans to expand its number of advanced AI researchers to a total of about 1,000 globally by 2020. We currently have centres operating near Seoul, along with Cambridge, Moscow, Silicon Valley, Toronto, Montreal and New York

Photo: Nicolas Mercier
Practice Lead, Company: Hospitality & Travel, Samsung Electronics