News / Press release

Check in to new cognitive hotel rooms and check out connected experiences

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Remember the last time you stayed in a hotel? Did you remember what time the restaurant opened for breakfast? Were you able to work the thermostat for the air conditioning? And after that long-haul flight when you woke up at silly o’clock, did you struggle to find the switch for the bedside lamp and turn on all the room lights instead? These are just some of the niggles that have now been ironed out with cognitive hotel rooms – a new initiative from Harman Professional Solutions and IBM Watson Internet of Things. Welcome to a stay in a ‘Voice-Enabled Cognitive Room’.

Hotel rooms – at your service

Using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology and Harman AKG microphones, JBL speakers and AMX AV control and switching systems, these new hotel rooms are truly at your service. Just talk to the room the way that you’d talk to a friend and a myriad of services and hotel features are at your command. The capabilities extend wider too – to medical facilities, offices, cruise ships, any many more.

Improved accessibility for hotel guests

This will be a boon for every traveler, particularly those with additional needs in areas such as vision and mobility. There’s no longer a need to find the air-con controls to change the temperature. Gone are the printed books with the numbers for the front desk and room service. Setting an alarm on a clock radio you’ve not seen before is no longer a mystery – just ask what you’d like and the room responds. Hotel concierge facilities are opened up too. When is the gym open? Just ask your room. Need to book a connection to the airport, or better yet, extend your stay? Just ask your room. Has your mini-bar run dry? Simply place your order with your room and it’ll be right up.

Over time, the system will remember your preferences and set your hotel room to your desired settings when you arrive. It could base this not just on your hotel preferences, but how you like things at home too. Your hotel room will soon become even more of a ‘home away from home’.

Patients are already benefiting from similar capabilities currently in use at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Patients can ask their hospital room to change settings such as lights and window blinds, and ask about hospital facilities or information about their caring professionals.

Hotel efficiency improved through speech translation

Hotel efficiency can be improved too. Using Watson’s natural language understanding and language translation services, guest service and in-house technical staff members can log maintenance issues in their own language. Send and engineer to fix the shower. Book a maintenance slot for a noisy air-con unit. Replace a broken lamp stand. Make a request in one language and it can be translated into another.

Opening new brand experience opportunities

Hey Siri. Alexa. Ok Google. We’re getting used to ‘wake words’. This system works with wake words too. The hotel can customise the system to their chosen word(s) which adds another avenue of brand building to the visitor experience. I wonder if the Ritz will ‘Ask Jeeves’?

Voice enabled cognitive rooms by IBM Watson and Harman will be open for reservations in mid-2017. There are more details in this Voice Enabled Cognitive Rooms press release. You can also find out more about how the internet of things is shaping cognitive buildings, and to stay ahead of news items like this, sign up to the monthly IoT Sense newsletter.

Content Strategist, IBM Watson IoT HQ

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