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Tech Talk

(January / February 2017) posted on Mon Mar 06, 2017

An ongoing tidal wave of technology is powering up mind-boggling additions to the toolkit designers can use to shape hotels.

By Matthew Hall

click an image below to view slideshow

Every day, it seems, a new tech wrinkle is being introduced into hotels: Artwork hanging on walls that changes daily, thanks to the use of “digital canvasses;” corridor lighting schemes that evolve as the day progresses (light and bright in the morning; soft and soothing in the evening); and voice-activated systems that allow guests to dial down the air conditioning when the room feels too hot or to turn on the lights before getting out of bed.

Digital Canvasses
Those aren’t paintings hanging on the wall of this lounge area within the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills hotel. They’re “digital canvasses” created by Daylighted. The images on the screens can be changed at will—and reproductions can be ordered on the adjoining touchscreen. Photo: Courtesy of Daylighted

These installations aren’t sci-fi, they’re real time: the digital canvasses are in place at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills hotel; the color-changing corridors are being tested on the 17th floor of the Quin hotel in New York; and the voice-activated rooms are operating at the Aloft hotels in Boston and Santa Clara, California.

This technological infusion into hotel spaces is likely to accelerate, part of what futurist James Canton describes as an ongoing “data tsunami.” Canton’s organization, the Institute for Global Futures (IGF), was recently commissioned by online booking agent to assess what impact that cyber storm will have on hotels over the next several decades.

Sleep pods
Bye-bye beds: Hotels of the future may well be equipped with sleep pods that allow guests to access programs of their dreams that will be channeled directly into their brains via a neuro-technology link. Image: Courtesy of the Institute for Global Futures

“Trends in technology, science, energy and entertainment will vastly change the hotel experience for travelers,” says Canton, founder and ceo of the IGF, a think-tank that does deep data dives to identify the latest consumer trends. “The emergence of a new travel design science, which is a combination of using big data, artificial intelligence and predicting travelers’ dreams, will mean the whole travel experience will change.”

Lighting schemes for hotel hallways that change by the time of day, produced by LumiFi, are being tested on one floor of The Quin hotel in New York. Images: Courtesy of LumiFi


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