Interior of Alibaba’s AI ‘future hotel’ and a robot | REUTERS
Chinese internet giant Alibaba has opened a hotel loaded with artificial intelligence (AI) and robots, automating a series of procedures like check-in, lights control and room service.
FlyZoo Hotel, opened in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, where Alibaba is headquartered, is known as the company’s first “future hotel”.
Customers can check into the hotel by simply scanning their faces. The facial recognition system installed in the hotel also enables customers to use their faces as key cards to open doors and access other hotel services.
Users can also control the lights, television and curtains in the room via Alibaba’s voice-activated digital assistant, while robots are deployed to serve dishes, cocktails and coffee.
Hotel bookings and check-out can also be done with a few clicks on mobile through an app. The hotel is the latest example of Chinese techcompanies’ foray into traditional industries such as the hospitality sector.
“We don’t have to waste our time on registering and waiting in lines. Many services like check in can be done with a smartphone. Secondly, I feel more safe with the help of this technology and these smart facilities,” said Sam Wang, a customer.
Some people may concern that these robots may put the human hotel staff out of a job.
“I’m not worried about being replaced by robots, because machines and robots can only do some simple works at this hotel. It is the human employees that can provide better services. The robots can save us a lot of time so that we can better serve our customers,” said Sun Xiaoting, an employee of FlyZoo Hotel.
Many customers said technology is making hotels more convenient and upgrading their services. But others said information safety and privacy are major concerns.
Many hotels across the world are now teaming with tech companies to upgrade their facilities with AI and Internet of Things technologies. FlyZoo Hotel’s CEO Wang Qun said safety and service will always be their top priority.
“So we are already concerning about this kind of issue. First of all, we will completely comply with the local government policies and local laws. Secondly with our system capabilities, because you know all our systems are cloud based, we have more and more strong capabilities to protect those data and privacies from our individual guests,” said Wang.
Wang said the FlyZoo Hotel is 1.5 times more efficient than its competitors. — Reuters