M2M for a more welcoming hotel industry
Thursday, 23 January 2014
In 2013 a total of 175 million machine-to-machine modules delivered a profit of almost 25 billion dollars, according to the latest edition of M2M Market Report prepared by IDATE. In the next three years that number could climb up to 470 million and the business could reach 40 billion dollars.
M2M technology will expand to all sectors changing the way in which we relate with our homes, work environment or even leisure facilities. In an increasingly global planet where tourism will employ one out of every ten people in the world, we should not lose sight of what M2M could do in the hotel industry.
Till now, M2M technology has found a niche in video surveillance and smart building applications using audio and movement sensors. Fitted with wireless devices, these systems trigger alerts to a centralised security system sending images to the fire-fighters’ department in case of a fire or to the police in case of a robbery.
Modern hotels normally use M2M technology to monitor and manage electricity, air conditioning and other general power resources. They also use it to automate room housekeeping tasks by using a number of devices that are connected to thermostats, lights, door locking systems and other remote controls.
The largest hotel chains are beginning to use M2M technology not only to automate housekeeping activities, but also to make the guests’ life easier and provide them with a more personalised experience.
Through mobile applications, guests can open the doors and blinds of their rooms and adjust the air conditioning system remotely. New innovation projects in the hotel industry, such as THOFU, seek to change even the colour of the rooms’ materials to adapt them to each customer’s own preferences and peculiarities.
M2M has also landed at the points-of-sale terminals enabling payments through vending machines (e.g. to pay for your parking ticket), while facilitating their basic maintenance and the replenishment and collection of coins.
Furthermore, these connected machines, which are integrated with digital signage platforms, can provide guests with additional information, such as the nutrition facts of what they are eating, offers and personalised tourist information, besides videos and multimedia content.
Solutions are currently being developed to automate this type of processes inside rooms, from auto-check-in to the use of the mini bar. The new systems know when some product needs to be replaced and avoid having to count clean and dirt towels, robes and tablecloths by hand.
Many of these applications will be showcased at the Smart Skyscrapers Summit 2014 at the end of April in Dubai. In fact, this event will show the M2M technology that governs some of the most spectacular blocks of offices and hotels on the planet, such as the Marriott Marquis Dubai, the highest building in the world.