Rev Up Productivity: The Rise of IoT & Voice

By Paul van Meerendonk Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions | March 04, 2018

Who didn’t love the ’90s? We had pagers, Spice Girls, video rental stores and paid for our internet connection by the minute. Two decades ago, a household would temporarily sacrifice their only phone line just to connect one stationary device to the World Wide Web. Today, it’s difficult to count the number of devices simultaneously connected to the internet in a single home. From TVs, thermostats, doorbells, cameras, lighting, voice-controlled assistants, tablets and mobile devices, a family of four could easily have upward of 20 connected “things”—hence we now have the Internet of Things (IoT).

A study conducted by Statista estimates over the last four years, IoT-connected devices will have grown by over 33 percent by the end of 2018 for a total of 23.1 billion devices connected worldwide. And over the next four years that number is forecasted to nearly double and total over 42.6 billion by 2022. That would mean there will be over five connected devices for every human, and that average number gets much higher considering only half of the world’s population has readily available internet access.

Technology continues to push the boundaries of what is possible, and as a result, more and more of it becomes a fixture in our daily lives. Four years is a short period of time for an install base to nearly double in size. It’s why machine-to-machine communication will continue to exponentially grow, leading to more opportunities for efficiency in every industry.

IoT is Checking In

Travel and hospitality, specifically, are working on many different approaches to take advantage of this technology spike. Not only do hotels need to think about how they can invest in technology to elevate the guest experience, but they must also be cognizant of the need for seamless connection of guest devices to their technology. Most of the technology a guest uses will be brought into the hotel by the guest, not supplied by the hotel. So, the end goal for hotels needs to be ease of use, speed of access and monetization of the guest’s digital journey from their own devices.

This has already manifested with tailored booking experiences, voice-controlled, in-room assistants, property-specific mobile apps and chatbot concierge services appearing at hotels, but technology also needs to enable efficiency on the business side as well as the consumer side. With better technology comes improved productivity and more hoteliers overseeing multiple properties, working remotely and automating mundane tasks to create more time for strategic activity. This means less time at a desk or a single property and more time on the go.

When it comes to revenue technology in the hospitality industry, the goal is still ease of use and speed of access, but more importantly, it is also the ease of access to vast amounts of consumable data. This makes revenue technology ripe for interfacing with IoT devices to effortlessly access more data insights.

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Coming up in July 2018...

Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.