by Ron Donoho | April 02, 2018

Self check-in
Face it, waiting in line sucks. Technology for skipping lines -- in hotel lobbies and at event registration desks -- is ramping up.

MGM's Murakami says the new Park MGM (which is replacing the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino) is phasing in self-check-in. It's a program Caesars Entertainment also has implemented. The process allows you to go online to find out if your room is ready. If it is, you have the option of checking yourself in at a kiosk than can generate a room key.

Self-service kiosks are also gaining popularity for onsite event registration, notes meetings tech expert Ball.

Facial recognition
The ability to unlock a device by verifying a person's ID from a digital image or video frame was rolled out to the public on Apple's iPhone X. How about using that technology for event-registration or hotel check-in, or in lieu of a key at your guest room door?

Facial recognition has gained a level of acceptance in China, according to futurist, speaker, and author Jack Uldrich. "It does have a level of 'Big Brother' concern attached to it, though," he says. "But if you think about the Las Vegas shooting situation, it can recognize and alert security officials on who's coming and going at hotels."

Smart rooms

A definition of the term "Internet of Things" (IoT) is inherent to a discussion of smart rooms. The IoT is the interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.

Both the Hilton and Marriott hotel chains are experimenting with in-room technology that connects to an individual guest's needs and preferences. In a Hilton "Connected Room" being beta tested through 2018, imagine walking in and the TV greets you by name. Marriott is also testing rooms that will be able to anticipate guest needs.

MGM is revisiting its event spaces to look for new and creative ways to make them "high touch and high tech," says Murakami.

"Making use of the Internet of Things means placing sensor technology chips all over buildings and rooms," Uldrich says. "In smart buildings you will quickly be able to lower the air conditioning, change the lighting, and aim to lower energy consumption via the sensors."

At the moment, smart guest rooms and smart meeting rooms/function space are definitely on the innovation end of the Gartner Hype Cycle. It will make sense to circle back in two years to see where the technology has advanced. And 10 years from now, look forward to the possibility of smart rooms entering a plateau of productivity.
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This article appears in the April 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.