IT Enabling Industry 4.0 in Hospitality Sector

IT Enabling Industry 4.0 in Hospitality Sector

Technology is evolving almost every sector of life ranging from manufacturing to education on one extreme and health care to hospitality on the other. The world has seen so many changes in just a short span of time just because of the technological advancements. 

Similar trends have started to make appearance in the hospitality sector covering hoteling, traveling, customer care, and tour guide sectors. IT is now changing the hospitality from traditional to digital and smart mode. The technologies like IoT, Big data, Cloud computing, Robotics etc. are evolving the hospitality industry at a fast pace. In this article, we are going to discuss the impacts of IT on this industry that is transforming the hospitality into ‘Hospitality 4.0’.

IoT in Hospitality Sector

For guests, IoT makes their stay more comfortable and customizable. It provides automated smart rooms where Guests can adjust the lights or make calls using their mobile phones or TV from their beds.

When it comes to mobile devices, hospitality can be more integrated with guests’ personal devices thanks to IoT. Guests can use their mobile phones to check into a hotel and open their room’s door. 

In addition, the mobile integration gives you data with the permission of the guests so that you can remember the preferences of the guest. Hotels and restaurants can take this one step further and customize their bookings based on previous stays.

In the hospitality industry, many large companies are integrating IoT in their operational infrastructure to enjoy the benefits offered by the technology. These benefits can range from offering a superior customer experience to saving on energy costs.

For example, Hilton and Marriott have conducted slightly different experiments on the ‘connected room’ concept, where users are able to control many features of the room from their mobile phones or from the tablet provided.

It allows guests to control the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems from one place, or even just tell a temperature and allow different appliances to automatically adjust the temperature. They can also control other devices such as TV. The good thing is, some smart devices will greet them with their name and make them feel more tech. friendly. 

Augmented reality in Hospitality Sector

Augmented reality works by using computer technology to change a person’s perception of the physical environment. Augmented reality is often compared with virtual reality (VR), but while VR completely replaces the real world environment with a virtual environment, augmented reality enhances the real world environment in real time.

The augmented reality in hospitality management in recent years has emerged as an important concept, as it allows hotels and other related businesses to enhance the physical environment (i.e. their hotel and its rooms), or the surrounding area. 

Another important explanation behind the rise of AR in the hotel industry is that the amount of information guests receive is requested before they arrive and once they arrive. AR technology can help consumers to access a lot of important information easily at any time anywhere. 

Another way for hotel owners to improve their customer services using AR technology is by using interactive elements in hotel rooms. An example of this can be seen in the UK based ‘Hub Hotel’ from the premier inn, which has started using AR in its hotel rooms in conjunction with wall maps.

By pointing the smartphone at the map, guests can see additional information about places of interest, increase the use of the map itself, and potentially make their stay easier and more enjoyable.

A hotel Holiday Inn experimented an AR hotel experience. They use AR technology to allow guests view realistic virtual photos of celebrities by pointing their mobile phones. 

Similarly Best Western tested AR and Disney stars. This allowed children to see Disney characters standing and walking along them. Other hotels are also using AR apps to allow guests to practically enjoy the hospitality experience.

AI in Hospitality Sector

Artificial intelligence or AI means the seemingly intelligent performance and behavior of computers or machines to perform a certain task autonomously. AI refers to computers or machines that perform tasks that are traditionally thought to require scientific work to be performed. It’s about concepts like automation and big data.

Artificial intelligence is increasingly playing an important role in hospitality management, mainly because of its ability to perform traditional human functions at any time of the day. This will allow the owners to save considerable amount of money, avoid any human error, and provide the best services. 

The most important part of hospitality sector is customer care, without any doubt. The success of companies in this sector depends on the way they treat their customers. With artificial intelligence, the possibilities for improving this aspect are almost endless, ranging from increasing personal nature to appropriate recommendations.

An example of artificial intelligence is delivering in-person customer services in the hospitality industry.

The best example of this is an AI robot called ‘Connie’ adopted by Hilton. This robot is able to provide tourist information to users who interact with it. Most impressive, it is able to learn from human speech and adapt to individuals. Ultimately, this means that the more users it talks to, the better it becomes.

Another way AI is being used in hospitality sector is data analysis. The technology can be used to quickly sort through large amounts of data and draw important conclusions about users, or potential customers.

An example of this is seen with the Dorchester Collection Hotel Chain, which uses the Metis AI platform to organize the data collected through surveys, online reviews, etc. and then analyze it to draw conclusions about the overall performance.

Robotics in Hospitality Sector

A robot is a machine, designed to perform complex tasks or specific tasks automatically. Some robots are designed to resemble humans and are called androids.

The demand for automated systems and self-service ideas for better customer experiences have increased the popularity of robotic systems. Robots allow enhancing speed, cost effectiveness, and accuracy. 

Located in Nagasaki, Japan, the Henn-na Hotel has become the first hotel in the world to be fully staffed by robots. Robots are deployed with information technology and provide different services such as front desk services, storage services, check-in and check-out services, including voice and face recognition.

Besides the hotel industry, Robotics has also improved travel experience.  Travel mats are an example of robotics used for luggage purposes. Basically, it’s an independent suitcase, able to follow you. It uses anti-collision technology to avoid any collisions and is capable of 360-degree movement and eliminates the need to carry, pull or push the suitcase.

Airport security is one of the most important areas where new technology is deployed and robots are also in use. A particularly strong example of this is the night scope robots, which are increasingly being used to independently detect hidden weapons and help keep passengers safe during their flights.

This is just the fraction of what IT can offer to hospitality industry. This sector has yet a lot to implement in order to taste the real fruits of IT but this all needs time and resources. Let’s wait and see what future hotels will look like after implementing industry 4.0 models completely.

IT Innovations Enabling the Industry 4.0 In Manufacturing Sector

IT Innovations Enabling the Industry 4.0 In Manufacturing Sector

IT based technologies are changing the ways the world used to see the manufacturing processes. The advanced technologies are making the connectivity among machinery possible which in turn makes the factories smart enhancing their production capacity and also providing them with cost-effective and time saving alternatives. 

We have already discussed about the different technologies that are enabling industry 4.0 in manufacturing industries. Now is the time to have a look at the real life applications of these technologies and how these technologies have been proven successful so far.  

Industrial Internet of Things

As we have studied in previous articles that IoT is a network of digitally interconnected devices and equipment’s that allows the communication and exchange of data within the devices. It comprises of various sensing devices, RFID tags, and electronics attached with manufacturing equipment. 

For example, IIoT can be used is to prevent the overstocking or under stocking of inventory.

Let’s have a look at the real-life application of IoT enabling industry 4.0.

A company BJC Healthcare operates 15 hospitals located in Missouri and Illinois as a service provider company. 

The company is using RFID tags to track and manage their medical supplies. Before application of RFID tags, the company needed a lot of labor to manage the inventory. 

This was a challenging task as the company had a lot of supplies to store and manage physically. It also caused a considerable loss of stock as it is difficult to keep a strict check on inventory, hence the expiry dates of stock could not be noted. 

But then the company applied RFID technology in 2015. 

Now, the company has been able to decrease the onsite stock at different facilities by 23%. It is predicted that company will save $5 million every year due to the RFID tagging technology. 

Big Data and Analytics

Using advanced computer technologies on major data sets to uncover important patterns, trends and correlations for companies in decision making process is termed as big data or big data analytics. 

The main use of big data in industry is as a translator. But it is not an ordinary translator; it translates what no one else can do. The information that is produced by IoT and AI systems needs to be translated into an actionable format and here the big data comes in. 

Bosch is a Chinese automotive company currently using a combination of IIoT and Big Data to connect the machinery and monitor the whole production process. 

The system that company uses is comprised of sensors attached with the factory’s machinery that collect data about a certain machine’s performance and any issues related to the working of the machinery. 

This collected data is then translated by Big data analytics to tell the workers if there is any breakdown in any machinery identified at some place. 

This helps in predicting the machine’s failure allowing the workers to take steps to resolve the future issue before it happens. 

Reports show that due to the use of big data systems, the company is enjoying 10% increase in output along with improved delivery management. 

Cloud computing

Cloud computing allows businesses to access up to date data and applications provided by the emerging technologies. And the good thing is, you don’t need to build a huge physical infrastructure to acquire this all. Cloud based computing can be easily installed and changed depending on the needs of industry.

Volkswagen is a company that developed a cloud network known as “Volkswagen Automotive Cloud” in collaboration with Microsoft. The technology offers features like smart home connectivity, digital assistance, predictive maintenance, media streaming and uptdates. 

With the help of this cloud network, the company plans to add around 5 million brand offerings annually to its IoT.

Advanced Robotics

Industries have been using robotics in one way or other for decades but the fourth industrial revolution has given a rise to this technology.  

Today, we have robots that can perform difficult and complex tasks autonomously. These robots are aided by advanced software and sensors which make them able to recognize, analyze, and act upon the data that they gather from the ecosystem. They are also capable to learn autonomously from humans.

Fetch Robotics is a Californian based company that has a developed system of robots used for tracking, locating, and moving inventory in warehouse. 

In Netherlands, a DHL service Provider Company is using the AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots) for pick and drop operations within the warehouse. These AMRs autonomously move with the workers and also learn from their activities and hence remember their routes of work. The company says that use of these AMRs has reduced the order cycle time by 50%. 

Augmented reality

Industry 4.0 is encouraging the use of AR technologies in the manufacturing industry. This technology can help companies from assembly processes to maintaining manufacturing machinery. 

AR efficiently fills the gap between the physical and digital labor by offering virtual images and data on to a physical object. The technology mostly comprises of smartphones, tablets and smart glasses. 

A company named “General Electric” has applied an AR system in their facility to offer a glimpse at how AR technology can work to increase the efficiency of manufacturing unit and labor. The company is using the AR technology on experimental bases in their jet engine manufacturing cell. Before introducing the AR technology, the workers had to stop now-and-then to check the working manuals in order to assure that the work goes in the right direction. With the use of smart AR based glasses, they can now have visual instructions while working. These smart glasses are even connected with the support team and the worker can immediately contact experts in case of any complex issue. 

Company says that it is enjoying 11% increased productivity of workers after introducing the smart AR glasses.