Touchless Interface in Hospitality Industry

What is touchless interface technology?

Touchless user interface (often abbreviated as TUI) is a developing form of technology with regard to gesture control. TUI is the procedure of sending commands to the computer system through gestures and body motion without necessary touching its screen, mouse or keyboard. Even though the initial applications of TUI were for entertainment functions (such as video games), currently there is a considerable number of situations where it can be implemented. These situations include the application of software in various fields like simulations-related (for training or learning purposes), file browsers (like image galleries), and design (for painting, 3D model design).

Touchless interfaces along with gesture controls are emerging broadly popular as they offer the capabilities to interact with some computing devices without touching them physically. A good example where they have had a significant is in the hospitality industry. In the current era, technology has emerged a critical aspect when it comes to attracting and maintaining hotel guests, and nowadays that means capitalizing in a comprehensive range of solutions which generate instantaneous and individual engagement. With increasing anticipations, amazement and enjoyment have been substituted with anticipated and assumed. Reservations should be easily made through any smart gadget, guestrooms should enable any form of content, systems must be rock-solid, and information is now the most invaluable asset.

Motion sensing and its supplements, such as gesture recognition ease achievement of these objectives since they provide a substitute way of communicating in the hospitality sector with computer software which falls under the canopy of Touchless Interactions. System users in this industry do not get into physical touch with any kind of input tools. Interactive walls, which offer art and info in hotel lobby, for instance, are among the mega-trends in hospitality industry which have taken a strong hold. These are digital or ‘living walls” which use a variety of technology like projectors, 3D cameras, and motion detectors to interact with guests and answer back to their movements. Dining tables and interactive walls are developing at fast food eateries, restaurants, hotels, and unanticipated tourism and hospitality settings, including cruise ships. Touchless computerized modernizers are designing these projector and digital-driven surfaces to pleasure and notify guests while also industrializing hospitality functions like wait staff duties and custodian services.

In addition to motion sensing, Speech Recognition is another characteristic of that kind of interaction. Voice in hospitality management is another mechanism of communication which can prove advantageous in the determination to generate a customer experience that shall feel instinctual and natural. The hospitality sector has continuously been at the vanguard when it comes to implementation of newfangled technology. Speech recognition is the newest technology that has made a huge impact in this business. Voice recognition has emerged comparatively easy for guesthouse managers to incorporate, particularly those that readily have computerization systems in position. For those beginning from scratch, they have been able to get on track with informational features then advance with time.

The most prevalent technique of integrating speech recognition technology is the widespread usage of virtual concierge services. As an alternative of having to pick up the telephone and make a call at the front desk, visitants can now make use of speech commands to ask for room services, book a sanatorium, reserve a bench at the cafeteria, request for guidelines, or catch on event schedules. Speech recognition is also being used to create custom greetings for guests by programming a personalized greeting when a guest reaches. All hospitality companies have to do is to allow visitors understand how to stimulate the greeting or have a staff member present when they show up to do it for them.

In addition, guests can now adjust in-room technology. Via the guest room computerization, they can make use of their tablets or apps to regulate lights, entertainment, and temperature. Businesses can now develop that regulation to include speech recognition by just integrating the suitable equipment whether it is an Amazon Echo device or a more unified system. Such aspects enable guests to monogram their experiences. Speech recognition software like Volara explicitly planned for the hospitality industry as well includes wide-ranging data analytics. In regard to the instructions people use, one is able to estimate the proportion of guests picking into the technology, the facilities and services they ask mostly, and the lessening of front-desk phone calls.

Applications of Touchless interface technology in hospitality

The digitalized world of technology provides the hospitality industry with a wide range of solutions from monitoring housekeeping activities to interactions with guests away from the front desk and much more. These technologies are not only meant to help hotel associates but their guests as well. When guests check in to a hotel, they have certain expectations such as instant services, full security, and advanced conveniences such as reduction of the risk of losing a key and having one multipurpose key.

The touchless access control for hotel guests implements Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPRS/GSM technologies. The procedure is not in any way complicated. The guest goes on-line and books a hotel room. The hotel staff then sends a room key directly to the guest’s smartphone using either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Guest’s may also be provided with an RFID card if they prefer. The smartphone/card provides the guests with access to their rooms and selected locations within the hotel. Door automatically open when the guest is within the range of the touchless radar sensors.

The system resolves several challenges for the management by integrating several access control tools into one system and has provided a real time effective management of access control. The RFID technology uses a tag that is in the form of a hotel card. This card can be replaced with a pendant or a lanyard which is a Smart Technology Group patent. The detection range of the RFID tag can adjusted so that the guest does not have to do anything to open a door. It is enough for the guest to walk to the door and the door will automatically open without having to remove the card from their pocket. This makes it very convenient for the guests to move around the hotel. Opening a door with Bluetooth technology, on the other hand, involves using a mobile application. The app is downloaded by the guest to their smart phone. The door unlocks by either shaking the phone or by pressing the app button. The limitation with this is that the application only works with smartphones that have Bluetooth 4.0. While using Wi-Fi, the rules are similar Bluetooth. The difference is that any smartphone that can connect to Wi-Fi will open a door. Lastly, the GPRS/GSM technology allows a guest to unlock a door after they dial a special number on any phone.

Impact of touchless technology in hospitality

Notwithstanding enormous developments, speech control high-tech is still not as instinctive as it should be. Hospitality companies need very explicit guidelines for it to function as expected. Just the same way they include a network guide in their guestrooms, they can add a list of conjoint guidelines which allow guests fine-tune technology, ask for maintenance, or get to know more about the services offered. Besides, they ought to ensure their voice recognition devices are in a suitable position. Leading way to ensure this is by making janitor or concierge stations. These comprise of the touchpad that adjusts in-room panels, a percolator, and their voice-recognition devices. The devices ought to be central enough that they can accept commands from the bed and overall sitting room areas. Just like most smart technologies, speech identification depends solely on the Internet of Things. Instructions are directed to a cloud database before being implemented. Therefore, any fruitful voice recognition stratagem shall require the property to have a robust network substructure to back it up.

Implementation of these technologies in the tourism industry has not only increased the efficiency of marketing activities but it has also assisted in the improvement of quality of services for guests. Touchless door opening is becoming as much the norm as the exception. It has improved security as well as management services. Hilton, for example, announced that in the month of October 2017, a door was opened by a digital key every one and a half seconds. They are currently working on introducing high-tech room experience that is expected to be implemented in 2018. This technology increases the level of security. A typical example is when a parent loses their young one, RFID will help in locating them especially on cruise ships or fun parks. Additionally, when it comes to security, room access is restricted to only guests. This means that all their belongings are secure resulting in customer satisfaction. Many innovations later, new standards are continuously being set for the industry where guests get a travel experience where the room knows them. Another advantage of using touchless access systems is that room keys cannot get lost or stolen.

RFID tags can transform expensive operational and logistics activities into touchless processes by implementing wireless automation. Hotels were among the first to recognize this type of technology. RFID has proved to be a useful tool to manage the housekeeping staff and to locate and inventory hotel supplies such as towels, alcohol, and guest’s luggage. This is done by installation of RFID reader and antennas on the specific items that are supposed to be kept tabs on. Technology cannot have a meaningful impact on the guest experience if it is only applied on the guest’s side without the supporting foundation on the operation side. This means that there needs to be a mobile app to audit properties, convey every guest’s requests, analyze and solve quality issues in good time. Train the employees, manage their incentives and many more tasks that will enhance the quality of services in a budget environment. Touchless interface technology has reduced hotel reception lines. The technology has enabled front desk managers to keep track of special requests from guests, create new bookings, and to do much faster check-ins and check-outs.

The evolution of the hotel industry has seen that the traditional key is slowly being replaced by RFID technology. Evidently, technology is advancing at a faster pace than ever which is changing the way the hospitality industry is conducting its business. These changes have resulted in the great improvements and savings for the industry. In several airports, it is no longer necessary to wait in long queues to check in and this is the same kind of ease people are expecting in the hotels. Guests want everything to be automated from parking to checking in to ordering room service. Thanks to technological advancement, guests also expect digital interaction with the hotel staff to be personalized. When investing in these apps, hotels are expecting the systems and technologies to personalize the experience for the guests. This includes the guest’s name being displayed on the welcome desk at a digital check-in center, their favorite foods and past purchases being shown on their digital room service menus. In addition, they should be able to provide information such as surrounding entertainment spots or medical facilities. Like several other technologies that have been implemented in the hospitality industry, this one is quite inexpensive and is a stepping stone to greater efficiency and savings. The hotel staff is therefore able to focus on customer satisfaction.

Conclusion

Touchless user interface technology has provided an efficient way for humans to interact with machines. The technology is reliable and the interfaces are user-friendly. These are some of the major factors that are fueling the application of the gesture recognition technology in the hospitality industry. Advancement of technology and product innovation is one of the major strategies adopted by most leading hotels. Innovation is important in order to deal with the existing competition. The industry is going to soon implement specialized cameras with features such as facial recognition and tracking technology. The product offers quality real-time facial detection while requiring low bandwidth and very little computing hardware. Several companies such as Hilton are involved in the research and production activities to come up with new innovative products. After all, in the hospitality industry every advantage counts. The industry is built on the basis of customer service. Guest expectations has been growing gradually. Technological improvements should therefore be in alignment with guests’ expectations so that they stand out from their competition. These technological advancements have brought about a different outlook to the industry. They not only provide an excellent guest experience but they also give a competitive edge.

This new technology that has been driving the hospitality industry has many advantages until a malicious individual decides to exploit its ability to help gather real-time human activity data. The technology tracks all the public interactions and movements which may be dangerous if the information falls into the wrong hands. The technology is implemented in airports, restaurants, museums, hotels and even in households. Another disadvantage is that the initial cost may be too high. Touchless interface technology is mostly used in sophisticated environments. Regardless, the pros have out-weighed the cons since the technology has greatly improved the comfort and safety of guests.