We are certainly at a cross-roads regarding technology; the ability to use automation to make our lives easier and having that very technology eliminate the need for labor expense has been the optimum goal ever since the assembly line replaced people.
There have been many articles published in this very magazine about AI, blockchain, autonomous databases and cloud computing. These are software computing tools that help create efficiencies and drive new revenue opportunities for consumers. Hospitality has only just touched upon robotics in our industry, seeing deployment of machines to deliver room service, clean the lobby and handle basic maintenance tasks. We have also seen very basic automation inside the guestroom with Alexa-type ambient devices that can facilitate guest requests, such as room service orders or extra blankets or to provide the room environmental controls or lighting – although hotels actually control the room temperatures. These solutions are only as good as the underlying integrations and don’t yet include AI for better efficiencies.