IoT – Internet of things - is an umbrella term for a number of technology pathways. Any “thing” (such as a freezer, coffee maker or hot tub) which can communicate with the Internet through software, firmware, sensors or other electronic means falls into the IoT category.
Gartner claims that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected IoT devices.
Lately IoT is finding its feet in the Hospitality Industry due rising standards, guests needing more pampering and service becoming instantaneous. Let’s look at a few ways in which IoT can help create hospitality utopia.
Food storage has its own set of problems. Hotels need to keep a close watch on temperature, humidity, acidity and air quality when dealing with large quantities of perishable items.
An example - a hotel may need its freezers to remain at a constant -5C. The easiest solution would be a sensor that gives a reading, an online dashboard that tracks it and a mobile phone alarm that goes off when the value goes into “red”. Such an IoT solution immediately removes the need for regular manual freezer checks. Of course, the factors that are monitored and managed can be much more nuanced and varied.
‘Aura Guardian’ by JK IT is an IoT tool that is used in F&B storage. It is an effective environment sensing, controlling and monitoring IoT solution designed to improve the performance of the entire cold chain. Hotels benefit from reduced food waste, improved food safety and better cost management.
In the hotel business, service is king. “Personalized” service is Merlin the Magician. It is as elusive as it is revered. Indeed, personalized service is the next stage in hospitality innovation and IoT supplements this with its own set of innovations.
Imagine returning to your hotel room and finding the lights dimmed just right, your favorite channel on and the thermostat set at the perfect level. Everything about the room ambience checks the box - a dazzling display of personalized service.
With IoT in the equation, the light bulbs, television and the thermostat are interconnected with the guest database. When the guest returns, information is passed back to the devices and the settings are configured. That is personalized service done right.
This division of hotel operations is where IoT is beginning to take a stronger foothold.
Hospitality goliath Marriott introduced the Marriott Mobile app in 2014, being one of the first high-profile pioneers of IoT in hospitality with their Mobile Check-in/Checkout, as well as the latest Mobile Key function. Guests can check-in and check-out via mobile, receive a room-ready alert, then go directly to the room, and enter using the mobile key from the app.
The process totally negates the need for front desk assistance. It creates efficiency for the hotel and convenience for the guest.
Hotels are just beginning to explore the possibilities and the benefits offered by IoT applications. Despite all the excitement, IoT alone is not going to transform a hotel or resort from bad to good or good to great. It will depend on how well the IoT systems are put to use and their interoperability. Hotels should look for integrated platforms to provide real-time processing of the vast quantity of data produced by IoT systems.
IoT is here to stay, and those who adopt early will be best positioned to reap the benefits.